Beijing Yonghe Lamasery Tour
largest and best preserved lamasery in China, residence of Emperor Yongzheng in youth and also tomb of Emperor Yongzhen, the only Lama Temple outside Tibet, experience Buddhist practice
Yonghe Lamasery, situated at the northeast corner of Beijing City, is the largest and most perfectly preserved elegant temple in China. Built initially in 1694 of Qing Dynasty, the temple was the residence of Emperor Yongzheng. After ascending the throne, Emperor Yongzheng moved into the Forbidden City, and renamed the palace Yonghe. After Emperor Yongzheng’s death in 1735, his coffin was placed in the temple.
Emperor Qianlong, the son of Yongzheng, upgraded Yonghe Palace to an imperial palace, and its blue roof tiles were replaced by luminous yellow tiles. In 1744 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, the palace was converted into a lama temple and became a residence for large numbers of monks from Mongolia and Tibet. The Yonghe Lamasery eventually became an outpost of Tibetan-Mongolian Buddhism in Beijing.
As a result of the ancient architecture, every element of the temple is entirely symmetrical, with main halls on a north-south axis and wing halls on both sides. It comprises of a courtyard in the south and five main halls in separate courtyards in the north: the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, the Hall of Harmony and Peace, the Hall of Everlasting Blessings, the Hall of the Dharma Wheel and the Pavilion of Infinite Happiness. Furthermore, this splendid temple combines various architectural styles of the Han, the Manchu, the Mongolian and the Tibetan.
Highlights of Yonghe Lamasery
In the south courtyard, a large wall screen and three tall Pailous (Pailou: a form of Chinese traditional buildings) herald the entrance to the building. After walking through the imperial passageway, you will reach the Zhaotai Gate which is the entrance to the north yard. A drum tower in the west and a bell tower stand solemnly as though greeting visitors.
Hall of the Heavenly Kings
The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is actually no more than an entrance to the other four main halls. The corners of the hall are hung with Sanskrit bells and mantras are written on the lintels of the doors, which lends a religious atmosphere to the hall. The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is so called because Four Heavenly Kings are enshrined in the hall.
Hall of Harmony and Peace
On stepping out of the Hall of the Heavenly Kings you will see a courtyard. The courtyard is centered on the Hall of Harmony and Peace and has four wing halls. The Hall of Harmony and Peace is laid with statues of three Buddahas: Sakyamuni (Buddha of the Present), Kasyapa Matanga (Buddha of the Past) and Maitreya Buddha (Buddha of the Future).
Hall of Everlasting Blessings
The Hall of Everlasting Blessings in the adjacent courtyard was the residence of Emperor Yongzhen when he was still a prince. The Amitabha (Infinite Life Buddha), the Medicine Buddha, and the Lion Buddha are positioned in the hall.
Hall of the Dharma Wheel
The Hall of the Dharma Wheel is where lamas hold ceremonies and read sutra. The hall houses a statue of Tsong Khapa, the father of the Yellow Hat Sect of Tibetan Buddhism.
Pavilion of Infinite Happiness
The Pavilion of Infinite Happiness, the last main hall, is the highest hall of this temple. In the main hall, a huge statue of Maitreya is positioned which the seventh Dalai presented to the Emperor Qianlong.
Location: 12 Yonghegong Street, Dongcheng District
Opening Hours: 09:00 17:00
How to get there
- Subway Line 5: get off at Yonghegong Station, and get out of the station from Exit C.
- Subway Line 2: get off at Yonghegong Station, get out of the station from Exit C , and walk south about 400 meters, then you’ll find Yonghe Lamasery on the east side of the road.
- Take bus No.13, 44, 62, 116 or 117 and get off at Yonghegong Station.
- Take bus No. 18, 44, 75, 606, 684, 800, 858 or 909 and get off at Yonghegong Bridge East Station.
- Take bus No.125 and get off at Yonghegong Bridge North Station.
Weather/Best Time to Go
Beijing enjoys four distinctive seasons owning to its humid continental climate, ranging from very warm during the summer: 28C to 38C (82F to 93F), to chilly and dry during the winter: -10C to 10C (14F to 50F).
All of the year is suitable for your Beijing Water Cube tour. A sunny day is much better, so forecast Beijing weather of your tour.
- Every year in April 15th it is the traditional festival of Tibetan Buddhism; the monks celebrate this day for memorizing the Buddha. The celebration is from April 13 to 15.
- You can also buy souvenirs by negotiating with the person in responsibility in the Lamasery.
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