The Lama temple, Beijing, China
The Lama temple (or Yonghe temple) in Beijing is situated at the north/east of Beijing close to the second ring of Beijing (Beijing is surrounded by 3 circle highways). The temple is a monistary built in Tibetan Boedhist and Han-Chinese style. If you only have time to see one temple, choose the Lama temple. The Lama temple is also one of the closest sightseeing highlights of Beijing to the airport.
|Picture: Lama temple entrance||Picture: Insence Lama temple|
After the official entrance, you receive a complimentary package of incense. Spread around the premises, you will find different burning buckets. The idea is to light the incense sticks for Buddha and worship the temple and Buddha.
|Picture: Insence ritual||Picture: Praying wheel|
Ok, but what am I actually looking at? You may wonder. The Lama temple is built in 1694 during the Qing-dynasty. At first the buildings were used as a residence for the forbidden city servants. However, later on, Prince Yong (Yin Zhen), son of emperor Kangxi started living on the premises until he was crowned in 1722. After the crowning, half the building was turned into a Tibetan Lama temple. The Lama temple is currently a convent for Tibetan monks. At the moment, the Lama temple is open for the public.
|Picture: Buddha statue||Picture: Buddha statue|
The Lama temple is about 480 meters long. You can find five halls, separated by small squares.
- The hall of the heavenly kings is the most southern hall and was originally the entrance.
- The hall of harmony and peace is the middle hall and has statues of the three Buddha’s of life: past present and future.
- The hall of eternal blessings used to be the official residence of emperor Yongzheng, and is the place where his coffin was placed after his death.
- The hall of the Dharma wheel is used for reading and religious ceremonies
- The pavilion of endless fortune contains a large Buddha, carved from a big piece of white wood.
With the audio tour, it is nice to (respectfully) wander around a bit and take in the halls and statues. The place has a sort of serene look and feel to it, while in the midst of busy Beijing.
|Picture: Lama temple||Picture: Lama temple|
Do note the details and architectural structures of the buildings along with the typical use of colors.
The entree price for the Lama temple amounts to 25 RMB. Additionally, you can rent an electric audio-guide. The price for this device amounts to 150 RMB. The audio tour is available in English.
|Picture: Buddha’s||Picture: Buddha’s|
How to get there
Getting around in Beijing can be somewhat overwhelming at first. The Lama temple is one of the few highlights of Beijing in front of which the subway has a stop. The temple is thus very well reachable by metro. If you want to take the subway, line 2 and 5 stop at the Yonghegong station (in front of the Lama temple).
Do you prefer to take the bus? Then take line 13, 116 or 117 and again, get out at Yonghegong bus stop.
Of course, you can also get a taxi to take you there from your hotel (make sure the driver turns the meter on). In front of tourists places, taxi drivers sometimes ask for too high fixed prices for the ride.
The address is: 12 Yonghegong Dajie, Beixinqiao, Dongcheng District, Beijing. But it is always smart to ask someone from your hotel to write down the name and address on a piece of paper (same goes for your hotel for the return trip), as most Chinese people have a hard time understanding English.
As far as we know, there are no strict rules clothing-wise for Lama temple entrance.
The Lama temple is situated at a busy cross section with a lot of traffic. Having said that, there are many small souvenir shops and small restaurants in close proximity to the actual entrance.
You might also like: