aerial views looking from left to right
Recently I have been exploring the ancient villages (about 200-500 years old) in Sheung Shui and Fanling to educate myself the history and development of my hometown. I have walked the historic trail, seen the walled castle-like villages and photographed two of the biggest-and-finest ancestral halls. Just when I thought I did it all, I discovered that there is even a cooler way to do that – seeing it from the sky!
At 1000 feet in the sky, I can clearly see that the original villages were built along the foot of the hills along the Ng Tung river (River Indus). This settlement pattern best illustrates the basic principles of Feng Shui – hills sheltering the villages from the elements while river providing water for farming and fertility. San Uk Tsuen (literally meaning New Village) at the center in the first picture actually has an artificial pond in the foreground for enhanced Feng Shui. I never noticed the pond until I looked at the village from the sky.
The founding family of Tang clan settled and built the first walled village at the northeast part of the River Indus. When the village became over-populated, they built another village along the river in close proximity. In the past five centuries, the villages, walled or un-walled, spread out along the river like water flowing down the stream. The prosperity of the clan is believed to be a blessing from the good Feng Shui.
One very interesting observation is that all these little houses in the villages are arranged in grid, like a Roman settlement. But these different grids were rotated and placed according to the curves of the river and the hills. It must have been a really amazing experience wandering from one village to another along these majestic hills back in the days. Let’s hope that this landscape and Feng Shui can be well preserved and protected.
lung yeuk tau historic trail, fanling, north district, hong kong – 6:29pm, jul 1, 2012