Sung Wong Toi Garden in Kowloon, Hong Kong Travel Guide

Sung Wong Toi Garden in Kowloon, Hong Kong Travel Guide

In the bustling urban landscape of Kowloon, Hong Kong, nestled amidst modernity and development, lies a significant piece of history – Sung Wong Toi Garden. This historic relic holds tales of ancient emperors, invasions, and the resilience of a community in preserving its heritage.

Sung Wong Toi Origins and History

Sung Wong Toi, meaning “Terrace of kings of the Song Dynasty” in Cantonese, was originally a towering 45-meter boulder situated atop Sacred Hill in Ma Tau Chung, overlooking Kowloon Bay. Legend has it that during the final years of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127 – 1279), the last two emperors, Emperor Zhao Shi and Emperor Zhao Bing, sought refuge in the Kowloon City area to escape the Mongolian invasion. In commemoration of their visit, locals inscribed the words “Sung Wong Toi” onto the massive rock.

Surviving Adversity

Despite facing various challenges throughout history, including the Japanese Occupation and subsequent expansion projects like Kai Tak Airport, the essence of Sung Wong Toi endured. During the Japanese Occupation (1941-1945), the Sacred Hill was leveled for construction, but the boulder bearing the inscription miraculously survived. It was salvaged, albeit partially damaged, and later relocated to its current site at Sung Wong Toi Garden.

Sung Wong Toi Garden Preservation Efforts

In 1960, the Hong Kong government took steps to preserve this piece of history by establishing Sung Wong Toi Garden at the junction of Sung Wong Toi Road and Ma Tau Chung Road. Here, the boulder, now shaped into a rectangular block, serves as the centerpiece, surrounded by lush greenery that exudes a tranquil ambiance.

Cultural and Historical Significance

The significance of Sung Wong Toi extends beyond its physical presence. It symbolizes the resilience of the Southern Song Dynasty amidst adversity and serves as a testament to the rich history of Kowloon City. The etching of the word “king” instead of “emperor” on the boulder, possibly to avoid angering subsequent rulers, reflects the complex socio-political dynamics of the time. Today, Sung Wong Toi Garden stands as a hotspot for tourists and locals alike, offering a serene escape from the urban hustle. Visitors can explore the garden, learn about its historical significance through informational plaques, and appreciate the intricate carvings on the boulder.

Conclusion

Sung Wong Toi stands as more than just a rock with inscriptions; it embodies the spirit of resilience and preservation of heritage. As visitors traverse through Sung Wong Toi Garden, they not only witness a piece of history but also embark on a journey back in time, unraveling the tales of emperors, invasions, and the enduring legacy of Kowloon City. Whether one seeks historical enlightenment or simply a moment of tranquility amidst bustling city life, Sung Wong Toi offers a unique blend of cultural richness and natural beauty, inviting all to immerse themselves in the vibrant tapestry of Hong Kong’s past.

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