Top 15 attractions in Beijing, China

By Xu Lin
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 Lama Temple(雍和宫)

Lama Temple, one of the 'top 15 attractions in Beijing, China' by

Lama Temple []

If you go on the northern section of the Second Ring Road, you will pass a lamasery with red walls and yellow tiled roofs near the flyover of Andingmen. This is the Lama Temple, or the Yonghegong Lamasery, also known as the Harmony and Peace Palace Lamasery. It is a renowned lama temple of the Yellow Hat Sect of Lamaism.

The lamasery, built in 1694, was originally the residence of the Qing (1644-1911) Emperor Yongzheng before he ascended the throne. Since imperial residences could not revert to secular use according to law, half of it was converted to a lamasery and the other half remained as a temporary palace residence after the Emperor Yongzheng moved into the Forbidden City.

Lama Temple features five large halls and five courtyards with beautifully decorative archways, upturned eaves and carved details. It houses a treasury of Buddhist art, including sculptured images of gods, demons and Buddha, as well as Tibetan-style murals.

When Emperor Yongzheng died in 1735, his coffin was placed in the temple. Emperor Qianlong, his successor, then upgraded Yonghegong to an imperial palace and its green tiles were thus changed to yellow tiles (yellow was the imperial color of the Qing Dynasty). This is why a temple like Yonghegong had such a high status in imperial times. Not long afterwards, the temporary palace was burned down, and the other half was formally declared a lamasery in 1744, which became a residence for large numbers of monks from Mongolia and Tibet.

Yonghegong was opened to the public in 1981.

Admission: 25 yuan (US$3.94)/person

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