Most Important Temples to Visit in China (III): Lama Temple

Most Important Temples to Visit in China (III): Lama Temple

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Most-Important-Temples-to-Visit-in-China-III-Lama-Temple-300x180 Most Important Temples to Visit in China (III): Lama Temple

Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Lama Temple

 

Given today's frosty relations between Beijing and the 14th Dalai Lama, it may come as a surprise to learn that the Yellow Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism served as China's official state religion not just once, but twice. The first time was under Kublai Khan and the Mongols in the 13th century. While the legendary leader was an immediate convert, the rest of the Mongol people would only follow suite much later in the 16th century. 

 

The second time was under the Manchus of the Qing dynasty, who sponsored the development of the religion not because of any deep-seated beliefs, but rather, as one emperor put it, in order to "pacify the Mongols."

 

Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Lama Temple

 

This explains the existence of the prominent Lama Temple (Yunhe Gong) in Beijing – and, what's more, its close ties to the royal family. The complex was first built in the early 18th century (Qing dynasty) when it was used as a residence for court eunuchs and the future Yongzheng emperor. In 1722, half of the complex was converted into a lamasery; the other half remained a court residence. The temple was granted imperial status after Yongzheng died in 1735. 

 

The five main halls here remain one of the most active places of worship in Beijing and contain some notable statuary inside, including a 60-foot-high representation of the Maitreya (Future) Buddha and some esoteric tantric figures. 

 

Yongzheng lived in the Hall of Everlasting Protection as a prince; his coffin was later placed here after death. 

 

Most Important Temples to Visit in China: Lama Temple – How do I get there?

 

Address: 28 Yonghegong Avenue (雍和宮大街28号)

 

Metro: Lama Temple