The Lama Temple in Beijing, is a temple and monastery of Tibetan Buddhism in Beijing. It is the largest Tibetan temple in the city. It is also the former palace of Emperor Yongzheng, offered to Tibetan monks.It has a beautiful architecture and houses Buddha statues. Covering an area of 66,000 square meters, it is structured around three main areas: Baofang courtyard, garden and buildings. The visit of the temple ends with a small museum where are exposed many objects symbolizing Chinese power and Tibetan Buddhism.
The construction of the temple started under the aegis of the Qing Dynasty in 1694 and was originally a residence for the eunuchs of the royal court and later became the residence of the future Emperor Yongzheng. In 1722, after the latter had finally reached the throne, half of the temple was transformed into what is called a lamasery ( a Tibetan Buddhist monastery ) for the monks and the other part remains an imperial residence. After his death his coffin was placed in the temple and monks from Mongolia and Tibet settled there in large numbers. The temple survived the Cultural Revolution thanks to the protection of Prime Minister Zhou Enlai. Renovation work is done and it was opened again in 1981.
Inside the residence there are several pavilions, a Drum Tower, bell tower containing steles, paintings, period objects and statues, including one of Maitreya’s no less 26 meters!
It is possible to buy souvenirs thanks to the various small shops as well as incense to burn directly on the spot. Visitors call this place calm, relaxing, out of time and out of town, all in all a very enjoyable place to visit and learn about Buddhism in China at an authentic temple while watching the Chinese perform prayers and rituals.
A must visit in your Beijing tour
The Lamas Temple was the birthplace of Emperor Qianlong and kept the coffin of Emperor Yongzheng some time after his death. At once a sacred place and an imperial site, the Yonghe temple presents a unique architecture. An imperial touch is added to the traditional style with the varnished tile that was changed to yellow (color of the emperors). But its relation with the middle empire is not the reason why it is absolutely necessary to visit this temple. There are few Tibetan temples outside the region itself, and the Peking Lamas Temple is the most beautiful of them as well as one of the best preserved and one of the largest.In addition, this palace of eternal harmony (yonghegong), is the most spectacular temple of Beijing. It is therefore a site not to be missed during a trip to the capital. It is also better to go there at the beginning of your stay, before having visited so many temples that everything mixes in your head.To get there in your Beijing travel just take the subway line number 2 or 5 and stop at the station that bears his name “Yonghegong Lama Temple”. The entrance is 25 yuan and the visit time is about an hour and a half.
Beijing things to do
The Peking Lama Temple consists of five courtyards, each with different character. You enter the Gate of Harmony to admire the Buddha of the future and the guardians of the worlds. Then go through the rooms dedicated to the study of various sciences to arrive at the Hall of Eternal Harmony presenting the Buddhas of the present, past and future. The Hall of Everlasting Protection, where Prince Yongzheng lived before becoming emperor, is at the bottom of the 3 rd courtyard.Then, the Law Wheel Room is the place where religious services are held. Finally, enter the last courtyard of the Temple. The Ten Thousand Happiness Pavilion, or Big Buddha’s Tower, the giant statue of Buddha Maitreya. The seventh Dalai Lama offered this 26 meter tall statue to Emperor Qianlong. This magnificent gift was carved in a single trunk of Tibetan sandalwood to then cross the country and be exposed before your eyes today.Former palace of Yin Zhen, Yonghe Temple of Peking took its current name in 1744, when it was transformed into lamasery. This Buddhist temple is still active today, so you can meet many monks there. Unfortunately, it also means that it is forbidden to take pictures, even for the statue of the Great Buddha Maitreya. But even to keep the memory in his mind, the visit is worth the detour.