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Temple of Heaven, people, and fresh colour — Beijing

June 25, 2009

Travel in Asia means a visit to a temple of some importance, either to pray or photograph. It also means you will not be alone because other travellers are likely to have a similar plan to yours. Beijing’s sites, like the rest of China, are busy with touts and tourists including the magnificient “Temple of Heaven”. A temple site larger than the Forbidden City where past emperors offered up sacrifices for success with future harvests. Now the temple sees hundreds of people daily; travellers meander around the site, some with guides listening to the history of once great rulers. Locals enjoy the shade cloaking the surrounding gardens. They come to practise opera Peking style, paint calligraphy using water or play badminton. On days like these, the site is a mish-mash of cultures and languages enjoying a common feature–Temple of Heaven.

by Cate

by Cate

 Like typical temple and palace sites, the grounds are vast and empty. Except for a scattering of objects and buildings, points of interest and symbolic meaning. Shade is limited, umbrellas a must.

by Cate

by Cate

Problems with crowding can depend on the season you travel and the time of day. Arriving just before eleven in the morning can mean mixing with numerous tour buses, loud speaking guides, and people who just want to feature in your photo. If quiet is important to you, try to get there when the temple opens or wait till the end of the day.

by Cate

by Cate

Like many of Beijing’s major attractions, the temple underwent a facelift for the 2008 Summer Olympics. Expect to see fresh paintwork everywhere, beautifully coloured and carefully detailed, gleaming brilliantly in the late morning sunlight. If you prefer rustic looking exteriors, you won’t find it at the Temple of Heaven; or the Forbidden City. At least not for another ten years or so.

by Cate

by Cate

Temple of Heaven dates back to the 15th century and falls under UNESCO protection. The architecture is reputed as a fine example of symbolistic architecture with its buildings and gardens laid out to connect earth with heaven; architects and cosmologists may enjoy visiting this place.

For access hours, up to date fees, and transport check out: Temple of Heaven on Wikitravel

Caffeinated Traveller

  1. June 25, 2009 2:00 am

    Cool photos! I´d like to travel there once as well. Would be interesting to shoot there! 🙂

  2. June 25, 2009 4:20 am

    Travelling to most of the places in China or Chinese residential areas means seeing temples. Luckily all these historical sites have not been destructed during the revolution time.

  3. Cate permalink
    June 25, 2009 5:53 pm

    ViktoryiaN – Thanks! If you like to se different thing then I think you would love the place. It’s still relatively cheap to travel around as well.

    rainfield – yes there are numerous temples around southwest china. True it is luck that these sites weren’t targted during the revolution. Good insights rainfield.

  4. June 26, 2009 1:09 am

    Lovely pictures! So colourful!

    I remember my husband and I in Canton, Guangzhou and it was pagoda after pagoda. I think we were chased out of one pagoda land *LOL* – erm, because some of the people we were with wouldn’t quit taking pictures. Ah well – tourists you know.


  5. June 29, 2009 2:41 pm

    Cool photos! You had amazing weather for your visit.

    I find the pre-Olympics repainting of the Temple of Heaven, Forbidden City Summer Palace, etc. to be so depressing. The physical aging of these monuments is as much a part of their history as the architecture itself.

    • June 29, 2009 8:54 pm

      Jess- i know I lucked out with the weather. In fact it was incredibly hot when I was there. I agree with yor comments about the new paintwork.

  6. cengizyarjr permalink
    December 23, 2009 12:39 am

    definately one of the most interesting places I’ve ever been, the care that this palace has receieved over the years has spared it the ill treatment so many of asian’s history has fallen to the fate of.
    best time to go – during the week, early morning, sprint when the doors open.

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