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Lama Temple

Introducing Lama Temple
In the northeast corner of the old city of Beijing lies a group of buildings with yellow roofs bounded by a red wall. It is the famous Yonghe Palace, or the Lama Temple, covering an area of 66,400 square meters. Lama Temple is listed as significant historical site protected by the national government.

Lama Temple Fast Facts
• Chinese Name: Yonghegong 雍和宫
• Best Time to Visit: All year around
• Recommended Visiting Hours: About 2 to 3 hours
• Things to Do: Photography, Tibetan Buddhism, Architecture
• Opening Hours: 09:00-16:30 from Apr to Oct; 09:00-16:00 from Nov to Mar
• Entrance Fee: 25/person
• Address: No.12 Yonghegong Street, Dongcheng District, Beijing

What to expect at Lama Temple

Lama Temple is different from other temples for its uniqueness, in terms of history and contents. Lama Temple was built in 1694, and was the residence of the Manchu Prince Heze. In 1723, Heze succeeded to the throne as Emperor Yongzheng. In the third year (1725) of Yongzheng's reign, the site was turned into a royal residence, and thus, the green tiles were changed to yellow, for yellow was the imperial color. Lama Temple was called Yonghe Gong (the Palace of Eternal Harmony). The emperor later converted the palace into a lamasery for monks from Mongolia and Tibet, for both Emperor Yongzheng and his son, Qianlong, were all believers of Lamaism. In 1744, during Emperor Qianlong's reign, it was officially declared a Lama temple.

The Lama Temple preserves over one thousand Buddhist figures and rich classical cultural relics of Buddhism. Besides, Lama Temple displays a large number of other rare cultural relics, including its three treasures: a 18-metre-high statue of Maitreya (the Smiling Buddha) carved out of a single sandalwood trunk; the miniature "Mountain of Five Hundred arhats" made of gold, silver, copper, iron and tin; and a shrine made of Nanmu, a precious hardwood with golden veins. There were originally four halls for learning, namely, the Hall of Mathematics, the Hall of Explicating the Scriptures, the Hall of Tantra and the Medicine Hall, and lamas studied in these halls with a term usually lasting more than 10 years. It took 30 years for lamas to study Buddhism from enrollment to graduation.

Lama Temple remains a significant role in Tibetan Buddhism. Every year, there will be several Buddhist activities to celebrate the New Year, pay tribute to Buddha, and commemorate important figures such as Panchen Lama and Tsongkhapa. Among them, the Spring Festival Ceremony Dharma Assembly (usually in late January or early February) and Great Wish Invocation Dharma Assembly (usually from mid-February to mid-March) are the grandest.

How to get to Lama Temple

By Metro
• Take Metro Line 2 or 5 to Lama Temple Station (Exit F).

By Bus
• Take bus No.116, 117 and get off at Yonghegong Station.
• Take bus No.13, 684 to Guozijian Station.
• Take bus No.18, 44, 75, 800, 858 and get off at Yonghegongqiao Dong Station.

Additional travel advice on Lama Temple
• It is not allowed to take photos in any of the halls.
• The Temple offers charged interpretation service.

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