Timings : 9:00 - 16:30 (April - October) 9:00 - 16:00 (November - March)
Entry Fee : CNY 25
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The Yonghe Lamasery (also known as Yonghe Temple or Lama Temple) is China's biggest lamasery. It was given this status only in 1722.
The Yonghe Lamasery was the residence of the Yongzheng Emperor when he was a Prince, and when he ascended the throne, converted half of it into a lamasery for Buddhist monks, and eventually became the Chinese centre for Lama Administration. As you go along the central axis of the temple, you cross 5 main halls. The Hall of the Heavenly Kings is the first, with a statue of the Maitreya Buddha and the 4 Heavenly Kings. Following this, you'll come to the Hall of Harmony and Peace, which houses three bronze statues, one each of Gautam Buddha, Kasyapa Matanga and Maitreya Buddha. This is also the main hall of the temple. The Hall of Everlasting Protection comes next, which is where Emperor Yongzheng lived and is the place for his coffin today. Next comes the Hall of the Wheel of Law, which was primarily a place of education and for reading. Notably, it also contains the Five Hundred Arhat Hill Carving. Lastly, comes the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happiness, which contains a quite magnificent statue of the Maitreya Buddha. The statue stands 18 metres above the ground and 8 metres below, and it is made out of stunning white sandalwood. Today, the lamasery performs its daily functions as a temple while at the same time serving as a major tourist attraction.
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