Heavenly Temples

It wouldn’t be a JKRoaming certified city visit without some Temples being included. Beijing has some answers for that…

First up was the Lama Temple located near the Hutongs of Dongsi District. This Buddhist Temple was very impressive with riveting roofs, amazing arches and some fine architecture. On entry everyone got free incense.

What made this different to some of the other temples in China is that this was a Tibetan style temple, complete with prayer flags and prayer wheels.

It became a temple in 1744 after serving as the former residence of Emperor Yong Zheng. Today it’s a busy ‘working temple’, (we even glimpsed one of the monks blessing a live turtle on our visit!).

It’s also a record breaking (Guinness World Records) temple, as it contains the largest Buddha carved from a single piece of sandalwood in the world. That’s good to know for the pub/table quiz circuit.

A bit further South in Chongwen is the Temple of Heaven Park. The temple itself was used for rites performed by the Son of Heaven, who prayed for good harvests and sought divine knowledge.

Consisting of a number of buildings and aligned in an exceedingly straight axis they provided quite the workout to walk through. As with everything in China they each had their own entrance fees.

Apart from the temples the park was full of even more Chinese Opera singers, dancers and hugely organised tour groups. We also spotted a wedding photo shoot and possibly the most outrageous sight yet in Beijing.

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Imagine a camera tripod. It stands about 5 foot talk and has three thick legs. Not only could it mount a very large camera but possibly some seriously heavy ordinance.

Now imagine it simply contains an iPhone and that the ‘user’ is trying to get the perfect shot with it. Bizarre.

As the sun was going down we decided to get back to the Guesthouse (which was on the other side of town). Karen mentioned that their must be a gate to our east which would lead directly to the Metro station.

John quickly vetoed this idea as they were close to the South Gate and that was the obvious exit!

2 hours later as they walked past the East Gate that was next to the Metro station and would have only been a 20 minute walk, taking his cap in his hands John gave a very humble apology.

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