The Lama Temple was the first of seemingly dozens of Buddhists temples that I visited in China. Although I eventually got "all templed out" by the end of my trip, I still look fondly upon this massive and historically significant temple.
The Lama Temple is commonly known as the Yonghe Gong. It was built in 1694 and was originally a palace for a Qing prince who would later become emperor at which point it was turned into a temple. The temple consists of seemingly endless courtyards and halls. Each hall is highly decorative and very well restored. This was probably the brightest of the temples I visited in China. In each courtyard, usually just before the entrance to a hall are incense burners many of which are quite beautifully carved. Another fine feature of the temple complex are the luminous yellow tiled roofs of the main halls.
The Lama Temple is significant for the fact that it is actually a Tibetan Buddhist temple. The complex is in fact also a school for Tibetan Buddhism. For this reason you will see many Tibetan Buddhist monks with their distinctive yellow hats running about the place. Another feature of the temple with a Tibetan influence is the Tower of Ten Thousand Happinesses. It is here that you will find the prize possession of the Lama Temple, that being the huge Statue of Maityera. This fascinating sculpture is 18m tall and carved from a single piece of sandalwood.
The Lama Temple is open daily from 9am to 4pm. I actually got in slightly after closing so these times are rather vague. Admission is Y25.
This temple is the most renowned Buddhist temple outside Tibet. It is a vast area and has numerous halls with each having magnificent Buddhas, huge incense burners, prayer wheels, tapestries and a museum devoted to Tibertan metal statuery. The most impessive is the Wanfuge which contains the 18 metre, 9 metres across at the base, highly polished wooden (sandalwood)Buddha supposedly the largest wooden Buddha.
Unfortunately, you cannot take photos inside and therefore capture the full magnitude of the statue.
The ticket costs 25 Yuan and is actually a VCD of the temple which does work! (see photo) Don’t throw it out!
The Lama Temple was built in 1694 and was the residence of the Son of Emperor Kangxi until 1723 when he became Emperor. In 1744 it became a lamasery – for Tibetan and Mongolian Buddhist monks. This temple is very colourful and lively, with some beautiful statues of Buddhas in five halls. The last hall has a 75ft (23m) Buddha inside, which is carved out of a whole piece of sandalwood and is biggest wood-carving Buddha in the world - very impressive. The recommended time for a visit is an hour, however we spent over 2 hours here, I thought it was really beautiful.
At the time of writing, entry was 25RMB - bargain!
Lama Temple, or Yanghegong, has a long history. It was originally built in 1694 and originally used as official residence for court eunuchs of the Ming dynasty and was converted to the royal court of Prince Yongzheng(Yin Zhen) a son of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty.
Lama Temple or Yonghe Lamasery is nowadays the largest and most perfectly preserved lamasery in China.
Built initially in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty, this building was the residence of Emperor Yongzheng when he was just a prince. However, in 1744 the Qing Dynasty formally changed the status of the dwelling to that of a lamasery, and so Yonghe Lamasery became the national centre of Lama administration.
Lama Temple features five large halls and five courtyards with beautifully decorative archways, upturned eaves and carved details. It houses a treasury of Buddhist art, including sculptured images of gods, demons and Buddhas, as well as Tibetan-style murals.
Wonderful experience. Peaceful, quiet an oasis in the middle of a busy city. I spent a couple of hours just wandering around the numerous alters in this complex, people watching. There is a spot at the very back ot the temple were you can get away from the crowds and look back through a haze of burning incense. I have to say it was clearly one of the highlights for me in this city. Having visited many temples in the far east this was the most impactive. Not the prettiest but there is definitely an atmosphere in which I got caught up. If you've got time to visit one active temple in Beijing make it this one.
Best place to get away from the pushy salesmen in the street. This large temple - actually its temples - was once the residence of a count. He moved to the Forbidden City when he became emperor, and the palace was taken over by monks. When a rebellion in Tibet was quelled he issued that a vase was kept in the temple. The vase was used in choosing the Panchen Lama.
The temples all have Buddhas in them but the last one is by far the largest. It is supposedly cut out of a single piece of wood, but seeing the size of it I wonder if there have ever been a tree that wide. Every statue has some meaning and is the Buddha for something. I couldn't figure out half of them, but then again I am a complete novice on Buddhist symbols.
Photography inside the temple buildings are not allowed.
Yonghe Lamasery is Beijing’s most famous lamaseryand and impressive Buddhist temple. It was a palatial residence built in 1694 by Qing Emperor Kangxi for his fourth son, Prince Yongzhen who later succeeded to the thorne. It was originally the residence of Prince Yongzheng, which was later converted into a temple in 1744 by Emperor Qianlong. The most prominent feature was a 23m-tall Maitreya Buddha carved from the truck of a white sandalwood tree from Tibet. As Buddhists, my parents didn’t leave without saying a prayer for the family…
Today, it was an important historical monument.
This temple was first the palace of a prince. When he became the Emperor, he donated it to the Tibetan Buddhists, because it was not allowed to live in the palace anymore. The Lama Temple Yonghegong was for a very long time the residence of the Panchen Lama, when he visited Beijing.
Now the Lamassery is bustling with live. Ok, this is a photo taken on a cold winter day in 1988. I have been there again during Springfestival in 1999 and I had to queue for 15 minutes to make my bows to the famous wooden Buddha there!
Bus routes: Take Buses 13, 62, 116, 117 or take the subway and alight at Lama Temple Station
Opening hours: 09:00 - 16:39
Admission fees: 25 Yuan, 12 Yuan for students
Yonghe Gong is the biggest tibetan Buddhist Lama temple in Beijing. This was built in 1694 as the residence of Prince Gong in the Qing dynasty in 1725.
Only in 1744,emperor Qian Long changed it into a lamasery.
The architecture of this place is just as amazing as forbidden city.
Another great place for pictures, but unfortunately, you can't take any inside the inner halls of the temple.
There is a statue of the buddha that stands at 6 storeys high, tallest buddha carved out from a single tree trunk. An incredible sight!
Yonghegong was built in AD1694 by Emperor Kang Xi, as a residential palace for his fourth son - Prince Yong Zheng. After the death of Kang Xi, Yong Zheng became the Emperor (he ruled China from AD1723 to AD1735) and moved into the Forbidden City.
After Yong Zheng's death, his coffin was placed in Yonghegong for a brief period of time, and the roof tiles had to be changed to yellow ones (yellow is the colour which is used by the Emperor, the tiles were originally green). Another fact - Yong Zheng's son, Qian Long, was also born here, and he became the next successor to the throne.
The architecture of this temple is very different from the other lama temples, as it was originally a Prince's residence. Its architecture therefore resembles a mini palace (eg. like the Forbidden City, the main entrance faces the south, the red walls and yellow tiles indicated that 2 emperors once lived here).
You'll see 4 different languages on the signs - Chinese, Manchurian, Tibetan and...I forgot what the last one was!
Lama Temples, or Yanghegong has a long history. It was originally built in 1694 and was originally used as an official residence for the court eunuchs of the Ming Dynasty.
It was later converted into the royal court of Prince YongZheng, a son of Emperor Kang Xi of the Qing Dynasty. Before the prince ascended the throne in 1693 of Kangxi's reign of the Qing Dynasty, it was renamed as Yonghegon.
The Lama Temple is a magnificent Tibetan Buddhist complex built around 1700.
Now that religion is allowed in China, the Lama Temple is very active, with many faithfuls burning armloads of incense.
The superb architecture and the spiritual atmosphere combine into an unforgettable visit for foreigners.
When I visited, in January 2005, closing time was 4:30pm (my guidebook said 4:00). And it was quite haunting, with the priests closing the incense burners and the shutters.
Before or after the visit, remember there are many intriguing Hutong nearby.
Another temple inside the lama temple complex is the Yonghedian (Yonghedian : Hall of Eternal Harmony).
It was built in 1694.
At the central altar you can see the Buddha’s of the three ages: the middle one is Sakayamuni (the Present), the Past Buddha is to the right, and the Future Buddha is to the left.
Sorry if the picture is not really sharp, but it was taken very fast with my small digital camera without flash as it was in fact prohibited to make pictures, sorry . . .