Confucianism, Daoism and Buddhism in China
- Temple of Confucius: Visit this 230,000 square-foot temple housing stone steles with the Thirteen Confucian Classics, a variety of historical documents of ancient China, and the famed carving of "two dragons playing a pearl among the clouds."
- Yonghe Lama Temple: Enter the largest and best preserved lamasery in China. Once the residence of Yongzheng before becoming emperor, the temple holds an ancient copper cooking vessel thought one of the three rarest objects in Beijing.
- Altar of the Earth: See the last remaining temple for worshipping the god of the earth, built in 1530, and used by 14 emperors until 1911. The Earth God Worship House was converted into a cultural and historic relic exhibition building in 1986.
- Traditional hutong: Walk down one of Beijing's famous alleys formed by traditional courtyard residences and see how the intersection of Confucianism, Buddhism, and Daoism influence daily life.
About This Beijing Tour
The Yonghe Lama Temple wasn't always a temple. Originally, it was the residence of Yinzhen, prince of the Kangxi Emperor, who went on to become Yongzheng, fifth emperor of the Quing Dynasty. Which would be great, except some believe he cheated.
Yinzhen (1678–1735) was the eleventh son of the emperor, and the fourth prince to survive into adulthood. In all, the emperor had 24 sons who reached adulthood. The odds of Yinzhen becoming emperor were rather long.
In 1709, Emperor Kangxi stripped Crown Prince Yinreng of his position, leaving the succession to the throne wide open. At first, the emperor wanted court officials to nominate a new crown prince, but eventually opted to designate his heir in his will. Most officials believed it would Yinti, the 14th prince.
On his death bed in 1722, Emperor Kangxi's will was read, declaring Yinzhen the successor. Rumors immediately began that Yinzhen had somehow modified the will and changed it so the transfer would be to the 4th prince (himself) instead of the 14th (Yinti).
Yinzhen became Yongzheng Emperor and began his reign with some of his brothers, and rivals, in house arrest, and others dispersed throughout China. Despite the rumors of illegitimacy, his reign (1723–1735) is considered a period of peace and prosperity.
During an exhibition in 2013, Kangxi's will was unveiled. Experts declared that the will had not been tampered. Probably. Maybe.
Rooting out evil
There's a 700-year-old cypress tree in the Temple of Confucius that is known as the "Touch Evil Cypress." According to legend, during the Ming Dynasty (1368–1644) a superior official named Yan Song came to worship on behalf of the emperor. As he was passing the tree, one of the branches knocked his hat off. Since Yan Song was corrupt and treacherous, the people began to believe the tree could tell good from evil.
Meet your guide in front of Costa Coffee, at Yonghegong Street (Yonghegong Jie)and Wudaoying Hutong, south of Yonghegong metro station exit A, north of exit D, and across the street from exit C. Look for a low, local-style building that houses a KFC.
As in many cities, keep your wallet or purse secured and leave the bling behind. Bring local currency to pay for your admission to the temple directly - 57 rmb. Conservative, modest attire only; no tight tops or pants and avoid wearing shorts in public. Light cotton/linen pants and loose shirts are best. Shoulders and legs must be covered for a visit to a religious site.
Conservative, modest attire only; no tight tops or pants and avoid wearing shorts in public. Light cotton/linen pants and loose shirts are best. Shoulders and legs must be covered for a visit to a religious site.
Plan to walk for approximately 2 miles at a gentle pace. If your mobility is limited, this tour may be too challenging for you. This itinerary is not suitable for wheelchairs.
Cultural, Scenic, Walking Tour
Public transportation may be used from time to time. Have local currency available for tickets. Your tour may involve walking only.
Ph.D. or MA-level scholar guide
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated moderate. Full participation may require extended periods of walking over even and uneven surfaces, steep terrain and/or water activity in a slight current. There may be steps, inclines, cobblestone surfaces, and extended periods of standing. Participants with physical limitations should take this into account.
Travelers must be 13 years of age and older to participate.
Walks are held rain or shine with some variations to accommodate the weather. If you are running late for your meeting with our guide, we ask that you call to alert us so that we can relay the message to the guide.
Choose your date and time very carefully. Only a portion of this tour is refundable from the time of booking; within 72 hours of operation, it is fully non-refundable.
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