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Biyun Temple: Temple of Azure Clouds

2016-05-19 13:22:00Share:

Biyun Temple is outside the north gate of the Fragrant Hills Park which is in Beijing's Haidian District, just 20 kilometers from the city. It was originally built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and was taken reconstruction during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The interior buildings almost retain the style of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) completely.

Biyun Temple: Temple of Azure Clouds

 

  The gate of Azure Clouds which is faced by the stone lions is called the Mountain Gate. Close to it is a very deep pool where visitors can view a river that never dries up. On both sides of it are two Buddhist guardians which were carved during the Ming Dynasty and each being five meters in height. Upon entering it, tourists first visit the Front Palace where the stout Maitreya is displayed and then they encounter the Sakyamuni's Palace where there are statues of Sakyamuni and his disciples as well as the Arhats.

 

  The most famous buildings inside it, however, are the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, which is in the center of it, the Five Hundred Arhats Hall and the Vajra Throne Tower.

 

  There is a red wooden plaque hanging above the front gate of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall, the words on the plaque which is engraved in gold was written by his wife, Song Qingling. Inside this hall lies an empty crystal coffin presented by the USSR government in 1925 in memory of Sun Yat-sen, because his body had already been buried elsewhere, the coffin was left here till now. Photos of Sun Yat-sen, his handwriting, his books and his statue are also on display inside this hall.

 

  The Five Hundred Arhats Hall located on the west side includes nine rooms, four small wells and a pavilion. The inner side of the front gate has figures of four heavenly kings, and three powerful Buddhas, Burning Lamp Buddha, Sakyamuni and Maitreya, are placed in the middle of this hall. Another Buddha called Ji Gong, squats on the beam of the house.

Biyun Temple: Temple of Azure Clouds

 

  There is a legend about Ji Gong that goes like this: A long time ago when a meeting of selecting Arhats was to be held in this hall, Ji Gong had arrived very early and found that the door was locked, so he went out to take a walk and met a girl who was in danger. After rescuing her, he returned to the hall and found that all the seats were occupied. Therefore, Ji Gong had to sit on the beam.

 

  Altogether there are 512 statues, of which include 500 wooden Arhats, 11 Bodhisattvas and one statue of Ji Gong. All the Arhats are vivid, life-size statues with different poses and expressions. It has been said that two of these Arhats were the statues of Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).

 

  The magnificent Vajra Throne Tower is the highest building in it. This 35 meter-high tower with elegant decorations is well-known within the area of Beijing City for its high elevation. The tower is located on Xishan (West Hill) and when you climb to the top, it is a perfect observational position to view all the scenery in the suburbs of the city.

 

  It is suggested that tourists visit the Temple of Recumbent Buddha (Wofo Si) first, then Xiangshan (Fragrant Hill) Park, and lastly it. These three tourist spots are all on one tour itinerary and can be reached by public bus, Nos. 318, 333, 360 or 904.

 

  Admission Fee: CNY10 (Tip: Visitors need to buy the entrance ticket of Fragrant Hills Park to get to the mountain where it is located.)

 

  Opening Hours: 8:00 to 17:00

 

  Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 hour

 

  Bus Route: Take bus 563, 318, 360 Express, 714, 698, 331, 360, 696, 630 and get off at Xiang Shan Station.