Yonghe Lama Temple – Ticket, Highlights, Opening Hours, and Tips

yonghe lama temple

Yonghe Lama Temple, also known as Yonghegong or the Lama Temple (雍和宫), is a Buddhist temple located in the Dongcheng district of Beijing, China. It is one of the largest and most important Tibetan Buddhist temples outside of Tibet and is a popular tourist attraction in the city.

The temple was originally built in the late 17th century as a residence for Prince Yong of the Qing dynasty but was converted into a lamasery in the 18th century. It was later declared a national monument in 1949 and opened to the public as a temple in 1954.

The temple complex covers an area of over 60,000 square meters and features a combination of traditional Tibetan and Chinese architecture. It is home to several important halls, including the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, the Hall of Harmony and Peace, and the Hall of Everlasting Protection. The most impressive feature of the temple is the giant statue of Maitreya Buddha, which stands over 26 meters tall and is carved from a single piece of white sandalwood.

Yonghe Lama Temple is not only a religious site but also a cultural landmark that offers visitors a unique insight into Chinese Buddhism and Tibetan culture. It is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Beijing and is often included in tour itineraries of the city.

Table of Contents

Basic Information

Estimated Length of Tour1 – 3 hours
Ticket PriceAdult: 25 RMB
Adolescents between 6 and 18 years old: 12 RMB
Seniors over 60 years old: 12 RMB
Children under 6 years old or below 1.2 meters: Free
Opening Hours9.00 – 17.00; Last admission: 16.30 (1st April – 31st October)
9.00 – 16.30; Last admission: 16.00 (1st November – 31st March the next year)
Telephone Number0086-010-84191906

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Location and Transportation

Yonghe Lama Temple is located at No.12 Yonghegong Street, in the Dongcheng district of Beijing, China. It is situated in the northeast part of the city, near the Second Ring Road, making it easily accessible by public transportation.

Bus: Take bus 13, 84, 116, or 117, get off at Yonghe Lama Temple (雍和宫), and walk about 50 meters to the south to reach the entrance.

Subway: Take subway line 5, get off at Yonghe Lama Temple, exit from Exit F, and you will be standing at the entrance to the Lama Temple.

Self-drive: There is no parking lot near Yonghegong, so we do not recommend you drive yourself there.

History of Yonghe Lama Temple

The history of Yonghe Lama Temple dates back to the early 18th century when it was built as a residence for Prince Yong, the fourth son of Emperor Kangxi. However, in 1722, after Prince Yong was made the emperor, the residence was converted into a lamasery or a monastery for Tibetan Buddhist monks.

Over the centuries, the temple has undergone several renovations and additions, and it has played an important role in the development of Buddhism in China. In 1744, Emperor Qianlong added several buildings to the complex, including the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses, which contains 18 large Arhats, or Buddhist saints. The temple was also used as a place of learning for Tibetan Buddhist monks, and many important religious texts and artifacts were stored there.

During the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and 1970s, many religious sites in China were destroyed or vandalized, but Yonghegong was spared. In 1981, the temple was reopened to the public, and it has since become a popular tourist attraction and a center for studying and practicing Tibetan Buddhism.

Highlights of Yonghe Lama Temple

The Hall of Heavenly Kings

the hall of heavenly kings

The Hall of Heavenly Kings is the first building in the Yonghe Lama Temple complex and serves as the entrance to the temple. The hall is guarded by four towering statues of Heavenly Kings, each of which is depicted with a unique expression and posture. The Heavenly Kings are said to have the power to protect the temple from evil spirits and to bring peace and prosperity to those who visit. The hall is also adorned with beautiful artwork and carvings, including intricate dragon motifs on the ceiling.

The Hall of Harmony and Peace

the hall of harmony and peace

The Hall of Harmony and Peace stands at the center of the Lama Temple. It was originally built as the living quarters for Emperor Yongzheng in the 18th century but was later converted into a temple hall. The hall boasts a stunning three-story wooden structure, featuring traditional Chinese architectural design with Tibetan elements, and houses a massive statue of the Maitreya Buddha made of sandalwood, along with two other statues of the Buddha. The intricate carvings, colorful murals, and intricate decorations make the Hall of Harmony and Peace a must-see attraction for visitors to the Yonghe Lama Temple.

The Hall of the Wheel of the Law

the hall of the wheel of the law

The Hall of the Wheel of the Law, also known as Falun Hall is dedicated to Tsongkhapa, the founder of the Gelugpa sect of Tibetan Buddhism. It is adorned with intricate murals, carvings, and decorations, including a massive wheel of the law made from sandalwood. The centerpiece of the hall is a statue of Tsongkhapa, which stands 6 meters high and is made from bronze and copper. The hall is considered one of the most important and sacred places within the Yonghe Lama Temple complex.

The Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happiness

the pavilion of ten thousand happinesses

Built during the Qing Dynasty, the Pavilion of Ten Thousand Happinesses features a stunning display of Tibetan Buddhist art and architecture, with intricate carvings, vibrant paintings, and detailed sculptures adorning the walls and ceilings. The main attraction of the pavilion is a towering statue of Maitreya Buddha, which stands 26 meters tall and is carved from a single piece of sandalwood.

The Tibetan Buddhist Culture Museum

the tibetan buddhist culture museum in yonghe lama temple

The Tibetan Buddhist Culture Museum showcases a collection of cultural artifacts related to Tibetan Buddhism, including statues, thangkas (religious paintings), scriptures, and ritual objects. Its exhibits provide visitors with an immersive experience of Tibetan Buddhist culture and history, with displays of the life of the Buddha, the spread of Buddhism in Tibet, and the various traditions and practices of Tibetan Buddhism. The museum also features multimedia displays, including videos and interactive exhibits, which help visitors better understand the rich and complex world of Tibetan Buddhism.

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Useful Tips Summarized from Reviews

Dress appropriately: As a religious site, it is important to dress modestly and respectfully when visiting Yonghe Lama Temple. This means avoiding shorts, skirts or dresses above the knee, and sleeveless tops. It is also recommended to wear comfortable shoes as you will be walking on uneven surfaces.

Preparation and Timing: It’s advisable to make advance reservations and arrive early, as the temple tends to get crowded. If you’re not visiting for religious purposes, consider going in the afternoon when there are fewer people.

Incense Offering:

  • Upon entering the Zhaotai Gate, you can collect incense from the small windows on either side. Each person is typically given one bundle of incense (you don’t need to bring your own).
  • Enter through the side doors after receiving the incense, avoiding the central door. When entering, step over the threshold, not on it, with men entering on the left and women on the right.
  • It’s recommended to offer three sticks of incense. Remember that photography is not allowed inside the halls but is permitted for the exterior architecture.

Visiting the Auxiliary Halls: After paying respects in the main hall, you can explore the other halls, each associated with different blessings. For example, the Yonghe Hall is for wealth, the Yongyou Hall is for dispelling calamities, the Wanfu Pavilion is for peace, the Guanyin Cave is for offspring, the Yaoshi Pavilion is for health, and the Wheel of Law Hall is for good fortune.

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