Saturday, July 28, 2012

Temple of Heaven

                     I'd planned to spend my last day in Beijing at the Temple of Heaven , Summer Palace, Qianmen and at a Hutong ( hutongs are narrow alleys formed by lines of  traditional courtyard residences) .At around 5:30 AM , I packed my things and prepared to check out. I had a problem though , check out time was at 12 noon yet but I wanted to tour the city first thing in the morning ( until it's time for me to head to the airport around 8pm to catch my flight back to Manila).I didn't want to leave my backpack in the hostel and be interrupted with my tour at around 12 noon just to get my bag and check out. On the other hand , If I checked out early I'd have to carry my backpack all day while touring the rest of Beijing.The staff advised me that I could actually check out early and I could just leave my bag in their storage room and just pick it up before I head to the airport.                
               After checking out , I made my way to the Tianamen East subway station. It's quite a long walk. The directions provided by my hostel ( Peking Youth Hostel) in Beijing says that it's 200 meters from the subway station but it felt like 500 meters. What I loved the most about my hostel was its location which is right smack in the middle of Beijing, to the east of the Forbidden City. Yes, they were neighbors with the Emperors.  I took the subway from Tianamen East station , and I got off at the Tiantan Dongmen station which is the closest station to the Temple of Heaven. 
                            The Temple of Heaven is a complex of Taoist buildings constructed from 1406 to 1420. It was in the complex where the emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties would go to pray to heaven for good harvest, to be exact at the"Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest"( redundant?). The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest is the most popular and most photographed structure in the complex. It  is a magnificent circular building, built on three levels of marble stone base.The surroundings of the Temple of Heaven is also a very popular park among the locals where they take part in different activities. Another reason why I really wanted to visit this place.




                          I paid 30 yuan for a combination ticket that gave me access to all sections and buildings of the complex. As I made my way to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest I was welcomed by the sight of a park teeming with locals , as they start doing the activities of their choice .I was entertained by watching elderly women happily dancing to Chinese music in one corner and another group doing Tai chi in the other. There was also a part in the park where some exercise equipment where put up for the elderly men and women to use. I was amazed at how fit and flexible those old folks are.

                            From the park of the complex, I walked through a long corridor on my way to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. Lining the corridor were groups of elderly again. Each group formed a circle.I was intrigued so I checked out one of the groups and I found out that they're playing card games. 
Grandmas and Grandpas playing card games early in the morning
                             When I reached the Hall of Prayer I didn't feel the same thing I felt upon seeing Angkor Wat in Siem Reap and Wat Arun in Bangkok for the first time. It wasn't stunning. It looked pretty much the same as in the photos I had seen. Somewhere in the complex there's another building that serves as a mini museum. It displays old photos of the Temple of Heaven in its early days. At least this time I enjoyed looking at the black and white photos depicting the renovations done for the Hall of Prayer. There were also photos of leaders from all over the world visiting the complex.
               The architecture of the buildings in the Temple of Heaven is new to me but it's the activities of the locals in the morning that I enjoyed more during my visit. 

Interior of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest


  1. wow the place has a lot of people yet so serene and relaxing. did you enjoy the place? did you travel alone in Beijing?

    just me,

  2. Wow beijing!! Ang saya tingnan ng mga lola at lolo no :) Lovely photos! Ingats! and looking forward to your future posts

  3. @phioxee.i travelled alone and maganda dun kulang oras ko.thanks for dropping by.
    @wander shugah thanks for visiting my blog.

  4. hi melvin! I understand that you did not join any tour group. where did you stay during your trip? can you recommend a good and affordable hotel. Thank you so much!

    1. from his post, he stayed at peking youth hostel.when will be your trip?