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Temple of Heaven 天坛

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The Temple of Heaven 天坛 is a very historical place in Beijing. The place was visited by the Emperors of the Ming and Qing dynasties for annual ceremonies of prayer to Heaven for good harvest for China.

I am sure you have seen it in many TVB serials, China serials or Chinese movies. But to be there personally was a great experience for myself.

Getting to Temple of Heaven 天坛

The fantastic Beijing mass transit system will bring you RIGHT TO THE door steps of the 天坛 park.

Where I was staying at the Beijing Grand Hyatt Hotel, I took the train line 1 to Dong Dan to transfer to train line 5 to get to the Temple of Heaven. The station is 天坛东门 (Tian Tan Dong Men).

All four of the park’s gates are accessible by public transportation. But for the Subway, you can reach two different gates:

  • East Gate : Beijing Subway Line 5 Tiantandongmen Station
  • West Gate : Beijing Subway Line 8 Tian Qiao station
Getting to Temple of Heaven
Getting to Temple of Heaven

I used Exit A to reach the East Gate of the park.

Use Gate A to exit to East Gate
Use Gate A to exit to East Gate

Gate A2 is the exit

Gate A2 or North West Entrance
Gate A2 or North West Entrance

The ticket booth is at the entrance of the East Gate. Buy the whole ticket for the whole park. This is because tickets are sold for the park and the Temple of Heaven 天坛, separately. There are people who go into the Park but not into the Temple. So you need both tickets.

Temple of Heaven 天坛 Ticket Office
Temple of Heaven 天坛 Ticket Office

The Map of the Temple of Heaven 天坛 Park

Here’s the whole market of the Temple of Heaven 天坛 park. A good guide of this place can be found in this article.

Do not be deceived by the map. Like all things in China, IT IS HUGE.

Temple of Heaven 天坛
Temple of Heaven 天坛

For myself, as I am on my first visit and not having much time, I visited two places in the park. Of course, the Temple of Heaven 天坛 (to be exact, the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)) and then also the Circular Mound Altar (圜丘坛).

Do not miss these two 🙂

The Places I visited in Temple of Heaven
The Places I visited in Temple of Heaven

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests 祈年殿

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)

The Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) is a magnificent triple-gabled circular building about 36 m in diameter and 38m tall, built on three levels of marble stone base, where the Emperor prayed for good harvests.

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests 祈年殿
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests 祈年殿

A short video… to show the magnificent place…

Walking up to the temple reminds me of the walk up to the Giant Buddha at Lantau Island in Hong Kong 🙂

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)

A most amazing place in China !!

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)

The architecture of the place is very traditional. Many dragons 🙂

Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)
Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿)

Oh do you know that the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests (祈年殿) and the Circular Mound Altar (圜丘坛) are sitting on a straight line, North South line. Exactly. Feng Shui…. amazing !

This walkway is on the exact North South line.

The North South walkway
The North South walkway

Walking southwards down this north south line, you will reach the Circular Mound Altar 圜丘坛. This photo is taken back in pre-Covid 19 period 🙂

Circular Mound Altar 圜丘坛
Circular Mound Altar 圜丘坛
Circular Mound Altar 圜丘坛
Circular Mound Altar 圜丘坛

Circular Mound Altar 圜丘坛

The Circular Mound Altar (圜丘坛) is the altar proper, located south of the Temple of Heaven 天坛.

It is an empty circular platform on three levels of marble stones, each decorated by lavishly carved dragons. The numbers of various elements of the Altar, including its balusters and steps, are either the sacred number nine or its nonuples.

The center of the altar is a round slate called the Heart of Heaven (天心石) or the Supreme Yang (太阳石), where the Emperor prayed for favorable weather. The design of the altar is such that the sound of the prayer will be reflected by the guardrail, creating significant resonance, which was supposed to help the Emperor to communicate with Heaven. Amazing China thinking !

A short video of the Heart of Heaven (天心石)

Explaining this place

Heart of Heaven (天心石)
Heart of Heaven (天心石)

The stone…

Heart of Heaven (天心石)
Heart of Heaven (天心石)

A very nice visit to this place in Beijing.

Do take a chance to visit if you can !


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