Friday, May 25, 2012

Of the temples of Beijing;

One of the great things about Beijing is how old the city is. All around the city are palaces, temples, and gardens build by the past dynasties centuries ago.

The White Pagoda of Beihai Park.
The first temples I visited in China were in an area of parks and islands among the lakes running along the northwest side of the Forbidden City. On the peak of the hill on Jade Isle is the White Pagoda. Its bright white tower holds a reliquary of Buddhist scriptures and relics from monks. Jade Isle sits in a small lake surrounded by pagodas and gardens in Beihai Park.

A small stone bridge on Jade Isle in the middle of Beihai Lake.
The eaves of Chinese temples are always interesting.
A small pagoda in Beihai Park.
People would buy these little wooden medallions and write prayers on them before hanging them on the trees in the temple courtyard.
The White Pagoda of Beihai Park in the Beijing sunset.
Directly north of the Forbidden City is a big mound of earth rising from the ground covered with pavilions and pagodas known as Jingshan Park. This 45 meter high mound of dirt, which was built using manual labor and excess dirt of those dredging canals and motes six centuries ago, is now the highest point in the city of Beijing. Obviously not an easy talk to complete without the use of modern earthmovers and machinery. The hill has five peaks each with a structure which used to contain a copper Buddha statue representing each of the five tastes: sour, salty, bitter, acidic, and sweet. It is like a temple to food lovers. I guess I did go out to eat a big meal of Peking crispy duck after visiting the temples so there must be some sort of spiritual tie.
I don't think the No Climbing sign was too far away.
The main Pavilion in Jingshan Parks is on the highest point above the city and can be seen from all around the Forbidden City.
Me and the view from the pavilion looking over the Forbidden City and Tiananmen Square far in the distance.
The view towards the drum and bell towers north of Jingshan Park.
Me and the two Dutch travelers I spent the day traveling around Beijing with.

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