Yonghegong Lama Temple is a sole, little haven of Tibetan Buddhism in the middle of the bustling Beijing. It’s worth an extended visit to take in the atmosphere of peace and tranquility fully.

This lama temple complex in Beijing was built during the Qing Dynasty in 1694. Somehow Yonghegong has survived in the middle of this bustling city which is always evolving and recreating itself. Yonghegong is considered to be the largest and most perfectly preserved Lamasery in today’s China. Back in the days, it was the residence of the Emperor Yongzheng when he was just a prince. But in 1744 the Qing Dynasty turned it into a lamasery, and it became the national center of the Lama administration.

Walk in from the South end, and it immediately feels like you’d have come to a wholly different world. There are cauldrons full of burning incense, their smoke so thick that it’ll fill your nostrils to the brim. Locals are mingling around, and you can see the occasional monks in their daily businesses. The architecture is full of details, so take your time to breath in the atmosphere and explore every corner.

There are many different halls inside the Yonghegong, but the most impressive are the main palace – Hall of Harmony and Peace (Yonghegong). There are three bronze Buddhas on three sides of the room. Here people are stopping by to pay their respects as an endless stream. Even if you don’t care about religions, this place as a whole will make an impact on you.

Yonghegong – One of the Best Things to Do in Beijing

The most convenient way to get to the Yonghegong Lama temple in the buzzing Beijing is to take the subway. It’s cheap and easy to use – thanks to the Western station signs along with the Chinese ones. Take the lines 2 or 5 to Yonghegong Station. Get out from the Exit C and just walk South for about 400 meters. You can take a bus, too. For example buses, 13, 116, 117 and 684 have a stop at Yonghegong Station. But to make the journey easy, just take the subway.

When you are planning your sightseeing tour in Beijing with all the major highlights of the Forbidden City, Summer Palace and the Temple of the Heaven, don’t forget this little gem.

(Sorry for the picture quality. The picture of the Yonghegong Lama Temple is taken with a real film camera in 2004 and scanned.)

Yonghegong Lama temple, Beijing, China
Yonghegong Lama temple, Beijing, China