We have been visiting Dong Zen Temple (佛光山东禅寺) for its famous New Year lantern garden consecutively in the past few years.
The temple is having the opening ceremony by religious and political representatives tonight. To avoid the large visiting crowd, we arrived earlier to ensure good parking location and also see the decorations before sunset.
To save money (good idea), many of the plants like orchids were recycled (in fact, they blossomed more attractively this year).
There were few other new decorations to fit into the dragon theme.
While waiting for sunset, it was good to visit the temporary food court to enjoy the vegetarian foods, or to visit the art gallery.
The entrance is free and very educating.
Crafts and arts related the dragon theme were on display.
All devotees would visit the grand hall to pay respect to Buddha and receive the blessing.
Many first time visitors were enjoying taking pictures inside the peaceful praying hall. The walls were filled with carving depicting legendary and stories related to Buddha.
The lighting ceremony on the first day (21 Jan 2012) was kind of late, around 8:30pm. Any few lanterns were not lit successfully due to technically. It was understood challenges because of the sheer size of the decorations (all done by devotees and volunteers).
If you like to take photos, remember to bring a tall tripod. There would be tons of people walking right in front of your lens during the long exposure.
One great idea was that the temple is promoting is recycling. So this LED wall was made from recycled water bottles.
The new section of the garden were filled with many little monks and dragon themes.
The lantern monks were cute after lit up.
If you have few hours to spare on an evening, Dong Zen Temple could be one of the options. It is easy to find maps on the Internet for the route.
Happy Chinese New Year 2012.