Lonely Planet review
You won’t need a map to find the Man Mo Temple: just follow the smell of incense curling from giant cones suspended from the ceiling of this busy 18th-century temple. One of the oldest and most famous in Hong Kong, Man Mo (literally ‘civil’ and ‘martial’) is dedicated to two deities. The civil deity is a Chinese statesman of the 3rd century BC called Man Cheung, who is worshipped as the god of literature and is represented holding a writing brush. The military deity is Kwan Yu (or Kwan Tai), a Han-dynasty soldier born in the 2nd century AD and now venerated as the red-cheeked god of war; he is holding a sword. Kwan Yu’s popularity in Hong Kong probably has more to do with his additional status as the patron god of restaurants, pawnshops, the police force and secret societies such as the Triads.
Outside the main entrance are four gilt plaques on poles that are carried at procession time. Two plaques describe the gods being worshipped inside, while others request silence and respect within the temple grounds and warn menstruating women to keep out of the main hall. Inside the temple are two 19th-century sedan chairs shaped like houses, which are used to carry the two gods at festival time. The coils suspended from the roof are incense cones burned as offerings by worshippers. Off to the side are fortune-tellers ready and willing to tell you of your (undoubtedly excellent) fate.