Temple of Heaven, Beijing
We enjoyed our morning at the Temple of Heaven, which we found beautiful and relaxing.
There were people picnicking in the grounds, and some people playing strange one-stringed instruments and singing. It was a great experience. You can get there by subway very easily. For us it was two stops from our hotel near Chongwenmen. Don't remember the name of the station.But just get the hotel to write the name of the Temple down in Chinese, and when you get out the subway show it to people.You will find it easily.
After that we went on to to Pearl Market which is walking distance , and decided to return at the end of our trip to do shopping there..
I was caught by surprise to see a group of religious sect praying and meditating at this circular altar at the Temple of Heaven. Believe that they probably from Taiwan or Hong Kong, definitely not local Chinese.
It reminds me of the some modern religous sects who will congregate and pray at Stonehenge.
I wonder how the Qing Emperorl would have reacted if informed of such future sacrilege is being commited at his imperial altar to the heaven.
Fondest memory: In the Temple of Heaven Park or any park in Beijing, you will find that you will be doing a lot of walking. Getting from one attraction to another may be a long walk. The large open spaces in the park strongly contrast the tight, crowded streets of Beijing.
Fondest memory: The Temple of Heaven Park is marked not only by its famous Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest and Echo Wall, but also by its large open spaces with a sense of symmetry. In this photo, for example, I stand in the center and look directly straight, I can see the entrance to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest far away. On the other hand, if you stand somewhere else off center, you will not be able to see it. This is just my experience.
Favorite thing: One day after visiting the Forbidden City we were still in high spirits and we made our way across Tiananmen Square in the direction of the Temple of Heaven (know as Tiãn Tán Gõngyuán). For 30 RMB you can get into this park and check out ”Hall of the prayer for good harvests”, ”Imperial vault of heaven” and ”Circular mound”. We entered the park from the west and it took us quite a long time just to walk to the centre of the park where we could check out the buildings. The ”Hall of the prayer for good harvests” is a circular temple painted in blue, green, gold and red and it was striking to see this temple against the blue sky background. From this temple we walked south to get to ”Imperial vault of heaven”. According to our guide book this has a perfect circular wall and just like the Whispering gallery at St. Paul’s in London one can stand on one side and talk to people on the other side. Our guide book also mentioned that trying this out may be tricky as we could expect quite a few loud Chinese trying it too*grin* Fortunately, it was not crowded that day. Nikki and I went to a side each and all of a sudden I hear Nikki’s voice saying ”G, can you hear me?”. I was quite surprised and said ”Yes” and I think Nikki was even more surprised than me because all she could say was ”Really??”.
Favorite thing: The Temple of Heaven is one of the great monuments of Beijing, and definitely a site to visit if you are in Beijing for more than a day. It is not a matter of size, but the balance and harmony of the architecture is impressive - you just wouldn't change a thing.
...and HALL OF PRAYER
This masterpiece was built between 1406 and 1420. It´s a huge place where the Emperor used to communicate directly with Heaven. Several times a year, he would come here on foot all the way from the Forbidden City to pray for good harvests, enough rain, and so on...
The construction is based around the number nime which is divine in Chinese numerology. The round altar is where the Emperor was reporting on the status of the country to Heaven. It is constructed so that standing in the middle anything said is amplified several times.
The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests is interesting because of its 38-meters-tall building which doesn´t have any single nail.
The original one burnt down in 1889 but has been reconstructed since.
If You go to the temple early in the morning You can see groups of people practicing all types of kung fu and taiji
Favorite thing: Temple of Heaven was completed in the 18th year (1420) of the Ming Emperor. It is the largest existing temple complex in China. It used to be the place where the emperors prayed to the Heaven for a good harvest. Its main structures are two groups of buildings on a north-south axis, and connected by a walk thirty meters wide and raided four meters above the ground. The main buildings include the hall of Prayer for Good Harvest, the Imperial Vault for Heaven, and Circular Mount Altar.
Fondest memory: Aside from exquisitely laid out architectures, the temple is also famous for two structures with peculiar acoustic features, i.e. the Echo Wall and the Triple-Sound Stone. A mere whisper at any point close to the wall can be heard clearly on the other side, although the parties may be 40 or 50 meters apart. This is possible because the wall is round and hermetically constructed with smooth, solid bricks.
Visit the Temple of Heaven, even if you've seen more temples than you ever believed you would.
It's worth it for the local people you see there.
Fondest memory: While at the Temple of Heaven, we saw all the usual Chinese architecture in the icon that people usually associate with the city of Bei Jing. The building turns out to be the Temple of Good Harvest. An impressive structure built without nails, it is a sight to see.
However what really stands out in my mind is the local people there. As we walked down the Long Corridor to the East Gate of the temple, we encountered an elderly couple learning how to waltz, old men with brushes and water practising their calligraphy on the ground forming ice characters. There were people singing and playing Chinese chess and flying silk kites, the corridor was so full of the local culture that we actually spent more time watching them than looking at the 500 year old trees in the court yards.
Favorite thing: This it outside of Tiantan, the temple of heaven. If you watch people practice their caligraphy, just as in Tai Chi, you get a total feel for the culture. These men are paiting characters with water on stones because paper is pretty scarce there.
visit the TEMPLE OF HEAVEN... and its enchanting ECHO WALL (see pic below).
Yes, located just north of the altar surrounding the entrance to the Imperial Vault of Heaven, the Echo Wall enables a whisper to travel clearly from one end of the wall to right the other end. Knowing us, we immediately tested this out and truly, it worked! My friend was standing right at the OTHER end of the wall (very, very, very far away from me....) and yet, I could hear her - loud and clear! You must check this out when you have the opportunity.
head straight to the famed TEMPLE OF HEAVEN.
This place was considered highly sacred and it was here that the Emperor performed major religious rites annually. Just before the winter solstice, the Emperor and his ENORMOUS entourage would walk through this place to the Imperial Vault of Heaven in total silence. Well, if mere mortals like you and I were living in those era (read: commoners), we would definitely not be allowed to view this event. Sigh. Anyhow, it is at THE HALL OF PRAYER FOR GOOD HARVESTS that the Emperor would come each year to pray to heaven for - (guess?!) - a bountiful harvest, of course.
Fondest memory: There is something special about the architecture in this part of the Temple of Heaven. I have forgotten exactly what it is, I think that you can hear special echoes by making some sounds (like this woman clapping her hands).
Special ceremonies for the sky was hold in this forum in ancient China, which were usually emceed by the King of that moment.