Beijing Temples: Buddhist, Taoist and Confucian Temples
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Beijing Temples 北京寺
Beijing has some spectacular temples on offer for the visitor such as the world-famous Temple of Heaven and the colorful Lama Temple.
However there are 100s of lesser-known temples scattered throughout the city, which are often oases of peace and quiet away from the busy streets of the Chinese capital.
Dongyue Temple, Beijing, China
The Temple of Heaven Beijing
One of the must-sees on any trip to Beijing, the Temple of Heaven (Tiantan) is one of the city's most recognizable and famous landmarks. The Temple of Heaven was visited twice a year by the Chinese emperors in solemn rituals to prayer for bountiful harvests in spring and to report to heaven on the year's events at the winter solstice. It is best to arrive early at Tiantan to beat the crowds of tourists bussed in.
Originally an aristocratic home of a future emperor in the eighteenth century, the lively, colorful Lama Temple in the Dongcheng district of Beijing bustles with tourists and worshippers. The Lama Temple houses some impressive Buddhist statues and an interesting museum of Tibetan Buddhist art. The final temple hall holds an 18m tall statue of Maitreya, the Buddha of the Future. On the last day of the first lunar month the Lama Temple hosts a "Devil Dance" by the monks wearing outrageous masks to scare away evil.
Lama Temple, Beijing, China
Confucius Temple, Beijing, China
A restored temple dedicated to the great scholar and teacher Confucius. The Confucius Temple grounds in Beijing hold 198 stone tablets engraved with the names of scholars who passed the notoriously difficult imperial examinations. Next door to the Confucius Temple is the Imperial College where students swotted up on the Chinese classics.
The Confucius Temple grounds maintain a quiet and studious atmosphere and people from the local hutong come to unwind and chat.
The Dongyue Temple, on Chaoyangmen Dajie, was built over 700 years ago has survived a turbulent history. Dongyue Temple is now a Taoist oasis of calm in bustling new Beijing. This is the shrine to God Dongyue, who according to Daoist belief was the divine ruler of China. It is he who was said to preside over the many weird and wonderful departments that are represented around the perimeter walls of the temple.
It is a tradition to go to temple fairs during the Chinese Spring Festival or Chinese New Year celebrations. Beijing, as the culture capital of China, has a large number of temples. Temple fairs used to be an event of worship, in which people might pray for happiness, peace and luck. The modern temple fair has a wider variety of activities like worship, shopping, and recreation.
Watch a video of this temple fair at the Temple of Earth.
Beijing Temple Video
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