The Ultimate Travel Guide to Lama Temple
If you have a particular interest in the Chinese Buddhism or Chinese Lamaism, then the Lama Temple is one traction you can’t afford to miss.
This Temple is arguably one of the biggest and best-preserved lamaseries in China. The temple complex has an extensive floor area that stretches close to 500 meters from the temple’s front gate. It is composed of five main halls, all of which are fronted by their own courtyards buzzing with tourist activity.
Anyone who has visited the temple can attest to the fact that the Lama Temple is a glittering attraction in China’s Buddhist firmament. And if you are in Beijing and only have enough time to visit one temple, then make the Lama Temple your priority, where the fabulous frescoes, riveting roofs, Tibetan prayer wheels, stunning decorative arches, eye-popping carpentry and tantric statues blend with a dense cloud of incense.
One of the most striking elements of this temple is the standing statue of Buddha which is 23 meters tall. This statue is located in the tallest hall and was carved from a sandalwood tree trunk.
Lama Temple Highlights
Being the most renowned Buddhist temple outside of Tibet, this temple was changed to a lamasery in the year 1744 after having been a place of residence for Emperor Yong Zheng.
And while this temple is an active center of worship, and you will occasionally come across pilgrims prostrating in in-depth prayer sessions within the temple’s halls, this Temple is a popular destination for tourists nowadays.
The Hall of the Wheel of Law
Standing in the Fa Lun Dian (the Hall of the Wheel of Law) ” which is the fourth hall you come across after you get into the temple ” is a the bronze statue of a smiling and benign Tsong Khapa, who is the founder of the Yellow Hat Sect or Gelugpa, dressed in yellow and illuminated by the skylight.
The Wanfu Pavilion
The Wanfu Pavilion, which is the temple’s fifth hall is home to a magnificent, 18 meters high statue of Maitreya Buddha while in his Tibetan form.
This statue was sculpted from one trunk of sandalwood and is clothed in a yellow satin. Each of the statue’s toes is approximately the size of a pillow.
Just behind the statue, you will find the Vault of Avalokiteshvara, from where the blue-faced and small statue of Guanyin peeps.
The Wanfu Pavilion is connected by an overhead walkway to Yansui Pavilion, which encloses an enormous lotus flower which is continually revolving to give a snipped view of the Longevity Buddha.
Within the temple is a small side hall, the Jietai Lou, which harbors all bronze Tibetan Buddhist statues. Most of the effigies in this hall date from Qing’s Dynasty, from the exotic figurines and tantric pieces of the Mahakala to the languorous renditions of White Tara and Green Tara.
You could also peruse the available collection of Tibetan Buddhist ornaments which are stored in the Banchan Lou, another of the many side halls, where a collection of tantric figures, mandalas, and Tibetan scepters are displayed along with a stellar selection of ceremonial robes in satin and silk.
How to Get To Lama Temple
Take subway line 5 or line 2 to the Yonghe Temple station and leave the station through exit C. Walk south for about four hundred meters and you will find the temple on the right side of the road. You could also get to the temple by bus though the subway is much faster.
Opening hours: between 9 am and 5 pm. Entrance Fee: CNY35 p.p, Free for children no taller than 1.2 meters.