Lama Temple (Yonghegong) is a famous lamasery in the northeastern part of Beijing. It was built in 1694, as the residence of Emperor Younzheng when he was a prince. During the reign of his son , Emperor Qianlong , it was completely converted into a Lamasery. It played an irreplaceable role in uniting and appeasing minority nations, especially Mongolian and Tibet , and strengthen the central power of the Qing rulers as well.
Lama Temple mainly consists of seven courtyards from south to north,including three well-decorated elegant archways and six main structure buildings lying along the north-south central axis,with annex halls standing along both sides
The Gate of Harmony and Peace(Yonghemen)
It is used to be the front entrance to the Mansion of Prince Yong.It is acturally a hall rather than a gate.Inside the hall , a gilded wooden statue known as the "Big Belly Buddha" is in the center sitting on a golden throne, flanked by the four heavenly kings, in chinese folk custom, he always smiles with his breast and his big belly exposed. the Four Heavenly Kings ,Two on each side of the hall , According to Buddhist theory,the earth is divided into four worlds:the northern ,southern,eastern and western.Each of the four worlds is guarded by one of the Kings ,all known as "Heavenly Kings."
The Hall of Harmony and Peace (Yonghegongdian)
This Hall is the main hall in the Lama Temple,where Prince Yong received his civil and military officials before he came to the throne. Inside the Hall The three Buddhas in the center ,each about two meters high ,are sitting enshrined,The three Buddhas are Buddhas of the three Ages: The Present Buddha, Sakyamuni, is in the center ; the Past Buddha, Ran Deng,is on the left and the Future Buddha Maitreya is on the right.
Hall of Eternal Blessing(Yongyoudian)
It used to be the bedroom and reading room for Emperor Yongzheng when he was still a prince.After Emperor Yongzheng died ,his coffin was kept here for more than a year before it was moved to the Western Qing Tombs.Lamas came here to perform Buddhist services since Emperor Yongzheng was a pious Buddhist when he was alive.
Hall of Dharma Wheel(Falundian)
It is the largest hall in Lama Temple. Everyday ,in the early morning ,all the lamas are dressed in religious robes and assembled here to pray and read scriptures.Religious activities and prayer services are also held here during religious festivals and on memorial days.
Entrance ticket : RMB 25
Opening Hours : 9:00 am to 17:00 pm
Recommended Time for a Visit: one hour