Great Bell Temple, Beijing
Da Zhong Si. The temple was known as Juesheng Si (Awakened Life Temple), but clearly there wasn't enough awakening going on, so a 46 1/2-ton bell was transported here on ice sleds in 1743. The third hall on the right houses clangers garnered from around Beijing. Some were donated by eunuchs wishing the relevant emperor long life, with hundreds of donors' names scrawled on their sides. But none of this is fleshed out; captions are of the "China is a great country with an ancient civilization" variety. The main attraction is housed in the rear hall, carved inside and out with 230,000 Chinese and Sanskrit characters. The big bell tolls but once a year, on New Year's Eve. Visitors rub the handles of Qianlong's old washbasin, and climb up narrow steps to play "Chinese golf" by making a wish and throwing coins through a hole in the top of the monster.