It today’s post, two of my favourite bloggers are sharing their most beautiful temples they experienced to visit.
Katas Raj Temple
Tim’s of UrbanDuniya favourite temple is Katas Raj Temple. He says:
“It will be no surprise to many people that I have chosen to write about a temple in Pakistan – those who know me or who follow my blog will be familiar with my near-obsession with the country. However the Katas Raj Temple near Chakwal in northern Punjab province is beautiful for several reasons, and not all of them visual.”
“Set by a pool of turquoise holy water (a ‘tank’ as it if often referred to), the sandy-coloured walls of the Katas Raj temple rise vertically out of the blue, contrasting with the green garden surroundings. It is dedicated to the Hindu deity Shiva, and dates back 900 to 1400 years.”
“While the temple is aesthetically pleasing, what makes it more beautiful is the fact that it is unexpected, an anomaly – a Hindu temple in a sea of Muslim lands, cast adrift by history, but preserved to this day. Above all, Katas Raj attracts visitors of various faiths and walks of life, both foreigners and Pakistanis, who are keen to see and learn, thereby smashing Pakistan’s stereotype on the world stage, and humanising a place which is too often reduced to a sensational headline. How beautiful is that?”
The Lama Temple in Beijing
Vanessa of the Travelling Colognian loves the Tibetan Lama Temple in Beijing, also known as Yonghe Gong or Yonghe Lamasery. She says: “After having been to Tibet in August 2010 I was deeply impressed by the religiosity of the local people, the fascinating temples and monasteries and the stunning scenery. When I heard about the Lama Temple in Beijing, I decided to visit this temple when flying to the capital of China in April 2013. I liked it so much, that I visited this Temple a second time when returning to Beijing six months later, in October 2013.”
“A visit to the Yonghe Gong in Beijing gives you an insight into tibetan Buddhism. A touch of Tibet awaits you already when exciting the nearby metro station “Yonghegong”. The smell of incense blows through the streets. Around the Lama temple vendours sell incense sticks, prayer ties, images of the saints and other goods. Inside the temple complex people pray in the courtyards, enlighten incense sticks and candles. When you are lucky you get the chance to witness a prayer ceremony of the monks of the temple during your visit.”
A bit of History
“The tibetan Lama Temple in Beijing is one of the biggest Lama Temples outside of Tibet. It was built in 1694 during the Qing Dynasty and was the residence of Prince Yin Zhen till he was crowned Emperor Yong Zheng and moved to the Forbidden City in 1723. In 1744 the temple was converted into a Lama Monastery and hosted Monks from Tibet and Inner Mongolia for whom it played an important role. Nowadays the Lama Monastery is a tibetan-buddhist center.”
The Temple complex
“The Temple has five Halls. After entering the complex from the South you will walk through a park before getting into the actual Temple complex. The Lama temple hosts beautiful Mandalas and Sculptures. In the fourth Hall (Falun Dian) you will see the gold-plated Bronze statue of the Founder of the Yellow Cap Order, the Gelug School. Most impressive is a 26 metres-high Maitreya-statue which was manufactured from one single rosewood trunk and is now located in the fifth Hall (Wanfu Ge). It was a present of the seventh Dalai Lama for Emperor Qianlong whose transport from Tibet to Beijing took three years.”
How to get there
The Lama temple is located in the Northeast of Beijing. To get there take Metro Lines 2 or 5 to the Metro Station “Yonghegong” and choose Exit C (Southeast Exit). After walking 400 metres south you will see the entrance to the Lama temple on the left side of the road.
Opening hours and entrance fee
The Temple is opened from 9 AM till 4.30 PM (1st April till 31st October) respectively from 9 AM till 4 PM (1st November till 31st March). The entrance fee costs 25 Yuan (4 to 4.5 US-Dollars).