Wow! What a trip! It’s only been a few days and they’ve got our days jam-packed with tons of site seeing tours. The first day was pretty relaxed so we could start to get adjusted to the time change, but yesterday was a different story. I wish I had my pedometer because I felt like we walked at least 15 miles!
Our first visit was to a Lama (monk) Temple called Yonghegong Lamasery. It’s Beijing’s most visited religious site and one of the most important functioning Buddhist temples in Beijing. There are five main halls and tons of galleries filled with painted cloth scrolls. It was a palace for Prince Yongzheng and then transformed into a temple in 1723 when he became the Qing’s third emperor. It used to house 500 resident monks, but now there’s only about 2 dozen living there.
The halls house different Buddhas such as those of the Past, Present and Future. In the Hall of Eternal Blessings you’ll find Buddhas of Medicine and Longevity. But the most impressive hall is the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Fortunes. It has an 85-foot Maitreya Buddha that is carved from ONE single sandalwood block! It’s the most amazing thing to see.
In the courtyards outside the halls, you’ll find people lighting incense to present to the Buddhas.