Lama Temple – Yonghe Gong
I had the chance to visit during my days off the Lama Temple (also called Yonghe Gong). This Temple is know as one the famous Buddhist Tibetan temple outside Tibet.
Practical tip: Entrance ticket costs 25 RMB and is available at the Ticket Office in front of the Temple.
To begin, I want to share a bit of history to understand the importance of this Temple in Beijing. It was the former residence of Count Yin Zhen who became Emperor in 1723 and moved to the Forbidden City. He got a new name – Yongzheng. His former residence became Yonghe Palace (Yonghe Gong in Mandarin). His place was converted into a Lamasery (Lama Temple) in 1744. Lot of monks from Mongolia and Tibet moved to this Temple at this time. Fortunately, the Temple was not destroyed during Red Revolution and still looks like its initial state.
The Temple contains 5 different courts which contain several halls that visitors can visit. Some halls are dedicated to present the historical collection, some others are still used by monks and persons who want to pray.
I had the chance to see monks during their prayer in the Hall of the Wheel of the Law. It really added a mystic path on my visit.
I discovered a 18m-high statue of Maitreya Buddha in Wanfu Pavillion into the latest court.
I initially though that the Chinese were not religious but I maybe misunderstood. Lot of visitors came to commune with themselves. They visited the Temple with plenty of incenses sticks that they bought outside to local sellers.
Each person lighted 3 incense sticks in front of a Buddha statue or a specific Hall, pray or made a wish and then let their sticks burn in some amphora. They did this ritual in front of almost all statues.
To conclude my post, I want to confirm that this site is a definitely a “must-see” during a visit in Beijing. I will go there again any time…