Lama Temple Beijing (Yonghegong), or Palace of Peace and Harmony Lama Temple or Yonghegong Lamsery, a renowned lama temple of the Yellow Hat Sect of Lamaism, is situated in the northeast part of Beijing city.
Built in 1694, Yonghegong Lama Temple was originally the home of Qing Emperor Yongzheng before he became emperor. In 1723, Emperor Yongzheng contributed half of the grounds to the Tibetan monks of the Yellow (Geluk) sect and left the other half as his temporary palace residence. The Buddhist buildings in this peaceful complex are topped with ornately decorated, yellow roofs. Yellow was the imperial color of that time, which denotes the high status of this temple, a scaled-down imperial palace.
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 Buddhas, as well as Tibetan-style murals.
A 6-m-tall bronze statue of Tsongkapa, founder of the Yellow sect rests in the Hall of the Wheel of Law, but the temple's crowning glory is the breathtaking 18-m-tall statue of Maitreya (Buddha of Future) carved from a single tree trunk in the Pavilion of Eternal Happiness, the tallest building in the lamasery.
After Yongzheng's death in 1735, his coffin was placed in the temple. Emperor Qianlong, his successor, upgraded Yonghegong to an imperial palace with its turquoise tiles replaced by yellow tiles (yellow was the imperial color in the Qing Dynasty). During the 9th year of Emperor Qian Long's reign (1744), it was converted into a lamasery and became a residence for large numbers of monks from Mongolia and Tibet.This is a kind of friendly policy that the Qing dynasty deal with the relation with Mongolia and Tibet. That is the reason why the Great Wall was not massive constructed during the Qing dynasty.
Yonghegong is said to have survived the Cultural Revolution due to the intervention of prime minister Zhou Enlai. YongHeGong was opened to the public in 1981.
Address: 12 Yonghegong Dajie, Dongcheng District
Entry ticket: 25 yuan, audio tour 20 yuan
Opening hours: Daily 9:00-16:30
Transportation: Bus No. 13、62、116、807 and so on or take Subway to Lama Temple Stop
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