Temple of Heaven in Beijing

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Temple of Heaven in Beijing

After several very hot days, being back in the hot, humid and polluted city of Beijing wasn’t the best, but we were there anyway and were looking forward to seeing the places we’d missed out on during our first visit, such as the Temple of Heaven.

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We decided to walk around the Temple of Heaven and, as you could expect, it was crammed with people, but this time we definitely saw more western people (particularly Europeans).

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Family Travel Secret
The Temple of Heaven was where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasty worshipped the heavens and prayed for good crops.

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Exploring the Temple of Heaven

We started our visit in the Divine Warehouse Kitchen, a building full of different items and pots which used to be used in rituals for preparing offerings. There used to be almost 100 cooks and servants preparing offerings in the North Divine Kitchen.

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All along the Long Corridor, there were lots of people playing table-top games such as checkers and cards. The curious thing about this corridor was that it had 72 rooms connected to each other.

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After walking through almost 300 meters of corridor, we arrived at the Hall of Prayers for Good Harvest. We honestly knew that this was going to be one of the most beautiful buildings we’d see on our trip to China, and we weren’t disappointed. The building’s circular shape stands out against other buildings and pagodas you visit in China.

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Family Travel Secret
It was built in 1420 and was originally used to make offerings to Heaven and Earth. It has been remodeled differently a number of times over the centuries. Its pillars represent the 4 seasons in the year, the 12 months, the hours of day and night, as well as the constellations.

After walking around the Hall of Good Harvest for a good while we headed to the Doubled-loop Longevity Pavilion, which was the next important place to see. First though, we went through a forest of ancient trees and the Chinese Rose Garden.

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The Doubled-loop Longevity Pavilion was without a doubt the corner of the park we enjoyed the most. With almost no one in sight, it was marvelous to walk around for half an hour.

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The turquoise color of the Pavilion’s roof contrasted with the rose color of the gardens’ flowers.

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In order to get to the Abstinence Palace, we had to go through the West Heavenly Gate, which inevitably reminded us of one of the walks around Central Park in New York. We arrived at the palace (which is 40,000m2 in size) at 4:30pm, and it was closed …

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Family Travel Secret
Remember to read the program before your visit, as numerous places on site close earlier than the park itself.

 

As there was still lots to see, we weren’t discouraged and we went directly east where, passing the Echo Wall (where Noah obviously repeated his name several times and said Hello to hear his echo repeat his words) we reached the Imperial Vault of Heaven.

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Finally, we ended our walk at the Circular Mount of Heaven which was built in 1530, where we saw a number of people praying in the middle of the circle. Everything that you find in the Circular Mount, from the steps, the railings and the floor tiles, are in groups of 9 or multiples of 9. This is to represent the 9 levels of Heaven.

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Family Travel Secret
The Heavenly Centre Stone in the middle of the Circular Mount is surrounded by a ring of 9 stone tiles, then a ring of 18, and so on until a ninth ring of 81 tiles, representing the 9 levels of Heaven.

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Our visit here was completely fulfilling and enlightening. The next day we’d have a pleasant surprise, and one that was not so pleasant. 🙂

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