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Published: April 14th 2012
One of the wonderful things about Beijing is the serene areas within the bustling city. It reminded me of Japan where you can find a park or temple sanctuary hidden in the busiest parts of the city. Unlike Tokyo, Beijing is a massive, sprawling city with big open parks, monuments, and stadiums. The Temple of Heaven is one of those places.
We took the subway from Dongdan down to Tian Tan Dong Men (Temple of Heaven) stop. Across the street is an enclosed market with a lot of knock offs.
The entrance of the temple is south of the subway stop which will bring you to the East Heavenly Gate entrance. The ticket cost is ¥30 per person. Even in the winter you can appreciate how tranquil and serene this place is. Wide pavements and manicured grounds, it’s the perfect place for a long walk, tai chi, or taking the kids of an outing. When we arrived at the park we saw a huge group of people doing dancercise! What fun J
As you continue to walk east you will go through a small enclosed area. There are usually women selling small dolls and toys and men playing
card or gambling. There are actually two temples in the complex, one in the north gate and one in the south gate. The north gate temple is called Qinian Dian (Hall of Prayer for good Harvests). It’s amazing to think this temple was built in 1420; almost 500 years ago. The ceilings are magnificent with vibrant, dynamic colours outlining patterns in intricate details. Around the temple is the Hall of August Heaven framed by a marble fence.
Once you exit out of Qinian Dian take a walk south across the red bridge. This allows you clear sight to the second temple called The Imperial vault of Heaven. This temple was used to store ceremonial equipment. Just past the temple is the round alter.
The round alter is a round marble platform which is the site of the winter solstice. If you stand on the platform you can hear yourself echo.
As we walked back to the main entrance we took a detour through the garden. There are many different trees and plants to look at. Also a nice place for a romantic stroll.
Definitely make sure you take in the Temple of Heaven on your visit
to Beijing. It’s worth the time.
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