In Beijing, Yonghegong Lama Temple is undoubtedly one of the most beautiful temples.It was originally built for the Yongzheng Emperor in Qing Dynasty while still a prince. After Yongzheng acended to the throne, his former estate was transformed into a Tibetan Buddhist Temple. That’s why the architecture in the temple looks so grand, even luxurious — and incompatible with its identity. The temple covers an area of one hundred acres and has over one thousand halls and monk’s cells. While appreciating the valuable thangkas and statues of Buddha in Yonghegong, you may still bump into some monks living there.
12 Yonghegong Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing, +8610 84191919
Dongyue Temple probably has more gods than any other temple in Beijing. It serves over 3,000 Chinese gods, from the most prestigious Jade Emperor, the emperor in heaven, and Dongyue, the god for the Tai Mountain (also known as Dongyue, the East Mountain of the Five Mountains in China) to inferior gods like the god of builders and contractors, Lu Ban. Dongyue Temple is also known for the more than one hundred stone tablets in its yards, especially the Zhang Gong Tablet by Zhao Mengfu, one of the four famous calligraphy masters in Chinese history.
141 Chaoyangmen Waidajie, Chaoyang District, Beijing, +8610 65510151
Southern Beijing has several old temples that are several hundred years old, and Tianning Temple, which can be dated back to the North Wei Dynasty (386 – 534 C.E.), is among the oldest of them all. Before entering into the temple, you’ll be impressed by its thirteen-story pagoda. The reliefs of Buddha on the two sides of the pagoda’s gate are so vivid that you have to be careful not to be intimidated by them when passing by. There’s a legend that the sunlight can go through the gate of the Dashi Hall in the temple every midday, even though the gate is tightly shut, and, at this time, the shadow of the Tianning Pagoda appears inside the hall. It is said that people who see this scene could live to be a hundred years old.