Saturday, 6 April 2013
06.04.2013 - 06.04.2013
This morning dawned under a clear sky and although it was cold there was the promise of a great day. Enjoyed our usual breakfast and captured some images of the Hutong area across the street from the hotel. These old neighbourhoods are being replaced by modern structures or re-birthed as restaurants.
We set off to visit the 'Lama Temple' taking a line 2 train from Hepingmen. Lama Temple Beijing (Yonghegong), or Palace of Peace and Harmony Lama Temple or Yonghegong Lamasery, a renowned lama temple of the Yellow Hat Sect of Lamaism, is situated in the northeast part of Beijing city. The temple is home to a number of Buddhist Monks and open to the public from 09:00 to 17:00 daily.
The temple complex comprises a number of courtyards and pavilions the tallest of which contains a 18 metre gilded statue of the standing Buddha carved from a single sandalwood tree. We both tried to capture an image of this magnificent carving but our results were less than spectacular. The whole temple complex took us over two hours to walk around. Masses of people, mainly locals, crowded almost every vantage point. In amongst this surge of people there were devotees making offerings who appeared oblivious of the crowd around them.
Each building is roofed in the classical Chinese style with curved ridge-lines surmounted with figurines to protect the roof. The more elaborate and the greater the number of these figurines the more important is the building so protected. These 'guard dogs' protect the roof of the main structure in the temple complex.
We set off to try and find the Bell and Drum Towers but failed to do so, instead wandering around three sides of a rectangular set of city blocks. We walked along significant roads through a variety of neighbourhoods from crisp modern buildings housing schools and libraries to run-down and dilapidated courtyards in the Hutong areas.
The Hutong is a community of courtyard residences separated by narrow roads, lanes and passageways. The residences vary in size and refinement from area to area and in some places are surrounded by walls and have a guarded entrance. The width of the lanes varies from wide enough for two way vehicle traffic down to lanes for bicycles and even passages suitable for pedestrian access only.
We finally found our way back to a Metro subway station and from there it was easy to find our way back to the hotel. The usual routine for the afternoon and 'happy hour' in the Executive Lounge.
Tomorrow will be our last day, we might do little other than explore a few blocks around the hotel.
Meanwhile, if you'd like to see my recent images you could try the following link. Recent Images on 365
Cheers ... Tony