Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Temples, Temples and more Temples

We definitely had a full agenda on this trip and most of it consisted of visiting some of the best known temples. Our first stop was to the Yonghe Temple, known also as the Lama Temple, which was within walking distance from our hotel. 

The Lama Temple is the temple and monastery of the Geluk School (Yellow Hat) of Tibetan Buddhism. It is also one of the largest and most preserved in China featuring five large halls and five beautifully manicured courtyards.

Although a tourist attraction, the vast majority of visitors are Chinese who come to worship by lighting incense sticks. 

Located near the Lama Temple, the Confucius Temple was built in 1302 and is the second largest Temple of Confucius in China. This is were people worshipped Confucius during the  Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty. While visiting, there were very few people around which was a nice change having just come from the Lama Temple. It does not appear to be a big tourist spot which was fine by us. We enjoyed just walking around and taking pictures in the peaceful surroundings. 

Statue of Confucius.
 The tranquil grounds of the Confucius Temple.

Dacheng Hall, hall of great accomplishment, is the main hall.
 The Glazed Memorial Arch was built in the 48th year during the reign of, Emperor Qianlong (1783) and is the only memorial arch set up for an educational institution in the country.
Bi Yong Hall was also built in the 48th year during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (1783). The building stands in the center of Guo Zi Jian and once served as a place where the emperor delivered lectures. The hall is the only imperial site still in existence of learning in China.
Temple of Confucius (Kong Miao)

The Temple of Heaven, or literally Altar to Heaven, was built in 1420  and is seen as the most holy of Beijing's imperial temples. It has been described as "a masterpiece of architecture and landscape design". This is where the emperor came every winter solstice to worship Heaven and to solemnly pray for a good harvest.
Extraordinary detail.
Entrance gate to the Temple of Heaven.

This is the entrance to see the Circular Mound Altar, which is a three level platform made of marble stone. There was no way to take a picture of this so I took one from the internet from an ariel view. 
This picture is from China Tour Design.
The Imperial Vault was built in 1530.
It is pretty amazing to imagine building these magnificent structures/temples in the 1400 - 1500's. We just don't make buildings with this much detail anymore.
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