Saturday, April 6, 2013

The Lamasery

Our last stop in Beijing, besides lunch, was the Lama Temple, also known as Yonghe Temple. Also known as Yonghegong Temple. Also known as Palace of Peace and Harmony Temple. Also known as Yonghe Lamasery (my favorite, due to my new discovery of the word Lamasery). For some reason it has multiple names.

While there, I learned a lot information about the temple, the most important fact being that it was originally built as an official residence of the court eunuchs...



I'll just leave that with you. No need for further information about the history of the temple.

Just kidding.

It was built in the late 1600's. After being the residence for eunuchs, it was converted into a court for the Prince. He then became emperor and converted half of it yet again into a Lama temple (which I just realized I've been misspelling as Llama. Hopefully that doesn't happen again). It is the only temple painted with the Chinese imperial colors, since it was part palace. It has been an important Tibetan Buddhist Temple since that time, except when it was closed during the Cultural Revolution.

It was such a beautiful day.

Here are some Buddhist monks.
And other Buddhist monks.
A female dragon
The female dragon's baby.

As we were attempting to get into the temple, since the subway stop is on the backside of the temple and we had to find the front, there were a lot of people selling fireworks, or so I thought. I realized soon after entering that they were selling incense to burn. Oops.

Here are some people burning incense.

The Lama temple was very busy, but it wasn't as busy with tourists at the other locations. The majority of the people were Buddhists there to pray, which made for a much different experience than the Temple of Heaven, which doesn't seem to be an active temple. At least not as visibly.

Here is a giant dragon's tongue and nose.

I spent a bit of time at the beginning taking secret pictures inside the temple. But, then I realized I didn't need to be as secretive when a monk was taking a picture of a tourist with the tourist's iPhone inside one of the temple rooms.

If the monks could take pictures, I could!

It's thought that if you toss coins onto this statue, you will get good luck.

This picture of me would have been a lot cooler if I didn't blend in  so well with the background.

This is a mural of the bodhisattva Avalokitesvara.

Here I am glowing in the sun.

While entering this room, I thought, "Wow, this is amazing! It's so large and beautiful!"

Little did I know what was to come...

Well, this was to come! This statue is 60 feet tall above ground. It extends 25 feet underground and is made of one enormous Tibetan sandalwood tree. It was made in Tibet and it took 3 years to move to the Lama Temple in Beijing. It was in the Guinness Book of World Records in 1993 as the largest statue of Buddha carved from a single piece of wood. And it's inside a building.

I can honestly say that it was one of the most amazing things I have ever seen. And, not to be a braggart, but I've seen a lot of amazing things.

We left the temple with this sight: A monk wearing converses.

And some elephants.

After leaving the temple, we saw this guy on his bike, then headed to get lunch.

We went to the area near our hostel, which has a lot of shopping and had some restaurants.

We decided not to go here, even though it was clearly delicious, at least based on the long lines.

Here's a Chinese Starbucks.
Some tea-making statues.
We chose a hot pot restaurant, which is similar to shabu-shabu, where you put the meat into the broth to cook, except the broth was spicier. It was very delicious.
Also the pot looked cooler than shabu-shabu.

There was fire at the bottom of the pot.

We then headed to the train station to take the train to Zhengzhou! The station is new, but was built on soft ground and is currently sinking and will have to be re-built fairly soon, which is interesting.

Luckily it didn't sink while we were there.

Next stop in my blog posts: Zhengzhou, China, land of spitting!

1 comment:

  1. So looking forward to your commentary about Zhengzhou, land of loogies. Your pictures are so effortlessly fabulous ...people work hard to get pictures that look like the photos you casually take.