The majestic Temple of Heaven in Beijing dates back to the ancient era of Ming and Qing emperors. These were powerful kings who constructed this monument for worshipping their Gods and for sacrificial purposes. The Temple of Heaven has undergone renovation in every century since the 1300s in which its foundations were first laid. Only three decades back, it was opened for the masses as a park. With its rich historical background and ethnic architecture, the Temple of Heaven is one of the most visited places in Beijing.
The Route to the Temple of Heaven
You will begin your journey from the eastern gate of the park. This is the closest spot to the subway. After buying the tickets you will have to travel a 100m distance to get to the Long Corridor. The Long Corridor was anciently used as a transportation route for all sacrificial items and offerings such as fruits.
Today you will find people especially aged ones strolling in the Long Corridor or busy playing games. Walking further for a few more minutes will lead you to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Here is where the kings used to bow and worship endlessly day, requesting for a good harvest. This Hall is a must-visit site of China. It is 38m tall and stands on a beautiful wooden structure studded with marbles at different places. Multiple tints and blends of yellows, blues and greens give this Hall an aesthetic and holistic aura.
Adjacent to this building you will find two beautiful gardens on your immediate extremes; the Chinese Rose Garden and the 100 Flower Garden. These gardens are filled with lush green vegetation and all kinds of rare, ready-to-bloom flowers all year long. The Palace of Abstinence is on the southwestern dimension of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest. It was built for fasting rituals to be carried out. It comprises of its own set of buildings such as the Beamless Hall and the Rest Palace.
Leaving the Palace of Abstinence, you will enter the Divine Music Administration where the musical ceremonies were carried out as a part of worshipping. All the musical instruments were kept here during the reign of Ming and Qing dynasties. You can also visit the aged Nine Dragon Tree which is almost half a century old. It is considered auspicious because of its shape.
The Circular Mound Altar
The Circular Mound Altar is the authentic Temple of Heaven. It is where the kings would present their sacrifices to the Gods, every year. Close to it, is the Imperial Vault of Heaven which is popular for its echo generating system. The Echo Walls, and three Stones, as well as the Dialogue Stone, produce strong resonating sounds.
If you plan to visit The Temple of Heaven in Beijing, make sure your trip comes between November to March. Always carry your Passport or ID with you for identification purposes and an ample amount of money for the visiting tickets as well as for the subway.