Lama Temple (Yonghe Temple; Yonghe Lamasery) is the largest and best-preserved lamasery in Beijing, covering an area of 66,000 square meters. The lama Temple is a renowned Yellow Hat Sect of Lamaism of Tibetan Buddhist temple. The Lama Temple is a popular and special place to visit and travel to in Beijing. It was built in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty originally as the offical house of court eunuchs then was converted to be the palace residence of the Emperor Yongzheng (the third emperor of Qing Dynasty) before he ascended the throne when he was still a prince. He contributed half of the grounds to the residence of a large number of Tibetan and Mongolian lamas and kept the other half as his temporary palace residence in 1723. It was converted into a Lamasery in 1744 by Emperor Qian Long due to diplomatic reason for better neighbourhood and relationship with Mongolia and Tibet. The name means "Harmony and Peace Palace".
Its construction is a unique mix of traditional Han and ethnic Tibetan architectural styles. The Lama Temple features five large halls and five courtyards with beautifully decorative archways, upturned eaves and carved details. The Lama Temple consists of the Hall of the Heavenly Kings (Tian Wang Dian or Devaraja Hall), the Hall of Harmony and Peace (Yonghegong), the Hall of Everlasting Protection (Yongyoudian), the Hall of the Wheel of the Law (Falundian), and the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses (Wanfuge). It houses many treasures, among which the most famous one is the huge statue of Maitreya, Buddha of the Future in the largest structure in the temple, Wanfuge (Ten Thousand Happiness Pavilion). In the center of the pavilion, the statue of Maitreya is a carved out of a single trunk of white sandalwood tree presented by the Seventh Dalai Lama who traded quantaties of jewelleries and treasure for the trunk in Nepal and then transported it to Beijing.
It is 26 meters high in total with 18 meters above ground and 8 meters beneath ground and spans 8 meters in diameter. According to the Guinness Book of World Records the Maitreya at Yong He Gong is the tallest and biggest of its kind in the world today. Behind the Great Buddha there are ten thousand small Buddhist statues on three levels, hence the name Ten Thousand Happiness Pavilion, the most important building in the Lama Temple. It is said that the Lama Temple has survived the Cultural Revolution due to the intervention of prime minister Zhou Enlai and was opened to the public in 1981. The Lama Temple is a popular toursit attraction that attracts tourists from all over the world home and abroad. Here's some guide information of the Lama Temple
Location: 12 Yonghegong Dajie, Dongcheng District, Beijing, China Contact number: +86 10 64044499 Tickets: CNY25 Opening hours: 09:00-16:30
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