Asia, China, Destinations

Lama Temple in Beijing, China

On my last evening in China, I went to visit the Yonghe temple, more formally known as the Lama Temple. It is located in Beijing’s Dongcheng District and by far one of the loveliest temples I have been to!



Lama Temple is the largest and best-preserved Lamestries in Beijing. It was originally an imperial palace but was later converted into a Tibetan Buddhist monastery.  It was built in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) as the residence of the Emperor Yongzheng (the third emperor of the Qing Dynasty) before he ascended the throne. The entrance to the temple was beautifully painted and after just having been to the Forbidden City which was super crowded, it was refreshing to be here. Very peaceful and relaxing, there were few tourists here. We paid 25 Yuan (£2.5) to get in, well worth the price!


Even the trash and recycling bins were painted in dragons!






Every element of the Lama temple is entirely symmetrical, with main halls on a north-south axis and wing halls on both sides. It comprises of a courtyard in the south and five main halls in separate courtyards in the north: the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, the Hall of Harmony and Peace, the Hall of Everlasting Blessings, the Hall of the Dharma Wheel and the Pavilion of Infinite Happiness.

The Lama temple combines various architectural styles of the Han, the Manchu, the Mongolian and the Tibetan. Unfortunately we were not allowed to take pictures inside, but each hall had different treasures and different Buddha statues.

Two of the Halls were particularly amazing. The Hall of Harmony and Peace (Yonghegong) is the main palace and inside three bronze Buddhas are displayed – Sakyamuni in the middle, Kasyapa-matanga on the right and Maitreya on the left. There are 18 Arhats (statues of Buddha disciples) positioned on both sides of the Hall.

The other one, the Pavilion of Infinite Happiness was equally impressive – It is a three-storey building, and in the main hall, a huge statue of Maitreya is positioned which the seventh Dalai presented to the Emperor Qianlong. The entire statue which is carved from a rare sandal tree is 26 meters (85 feet) in height and eight meters (26 feet) in diameter, with eight meters (26 feet) buried under the ground. It was a sight to see!


Lighting Incence and offering prayers at each hall



I really enjoyed my time visiting all the halls, especially since the history was written in Chinese and in English so I was able to read about it while viewing at the same time. To learn more about this history, visit here. Really fascinating stuff!






I am glad Lama Temple was the last place I got to see before leaving China. It left a lasting memorable impression in my mind. From the beginning of my trip in Qingdao with its European architecture, to hiking the Great Wall of China, to visiting the lively and colourful Hutongs, I got to finish my short whirlwind time here with a visit to this lovely Buddhist Temple – that made me very happy 🙂

This post is linked to #TheWeeklyPostcard hosted by Travel Notes and Beyond


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  • Vlad says: November 10, 2014 at 8:04 am

    What a gorgeous temple, I love all the details and the fact that it’s entirely symmetrical makes it even more interesting in my books. Thanks for sharing! 🙂

  • Marissa Sutera says: November 10, 2014 at 2:53 pm

    What a fancy trash bin! Seems like a very interesting place!

  • galanda23 says: November 10, 2014 at 6:10 pm

    Lama temple seems to have quite an interesting story: from a palace to a monastery it’s a long road. China’s history is so intriguing. I wish I could visit this place someday.

  • markandkate8 says: November 10, 2014 at 7:17 pm

    What a beautiful temple. I find China’s history a little mind boggling at times but incredibly interesting. Great post!

  • sammiegan says: November 10, 2014 at 9:37 pm

    What a beautiful place! Amazing and stunning!

  • elsmahieu says: November 11, 2014 at 2:14 pm

    Would love to make it to Beijing one day, but it seems so huge I wouldn’t really know where to begin 🙂 This temple looks like a good place though!

    • samselim says: November 11, 2014 at 2:18 pm

      It’s actually not as overwhelming as I thought it would be! The transport system is really good, you can get to many places using the subway. I would have needed more than the 3 days I had in Beijing to cover all that I wanted to do! This place is definitely a great place to start 🙂

  • Vasudha Aggarwal says: November 12, 2014 at 1:46 am

    Beautiful Temple. China is such a fascinating country.
    Thanks for sharing.

  • Marisol@TravelingSolemates says: November 13, 2014 at 3:07 pm

    Hi Samiya, nice finding your lovely blog through #TheWeeklyPostcard.
    I regret not visiting this Lama Temple when I was in Beijing. It reminds of me of Buddhist Temples in Tibet and Bhutan, They always enchant and move me. Your vivide descriptions of the halls and the statues make me feel I was there with you. The Buddha Maitreya statue sounds amazing. I’d love to see it for myself next time I visit Beijing.

    • samselim says: November 14, 2014 at 9:16 am

      I would so love to visit buddhist temples in Bhutan and Tibet! I hope to do so in 2016..Lama temple was indeed beautiful. Hope you get a chance to visit next time you are in Beijing! Thanks for lovely feedback 🙂

  • Anne @ Pretraveller says: November 14, 2014 at 8:10 pm

    Thanks for sharing your final temple visit. Have you found that where ever there is a really famous crowded tourist attraction that more often than not there is an alternative site close by which is just/almost as good with very few visitors?

    • samselim says: November 14, 2014 at 8:17 pm

      Totally agree! After forbidden city this was such a nice respite!

  • Constance - Foreign Sanctuary says: November 18, 2014 at 3:34 am

    Very beautiful place! It is amazing how much effort went into the each element of this temple (and most temples). I love how they preserve the place and have not changed it to ‘suit’ modern times. It sounds like a perfect end to a great vacation in China!

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