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Yonghe Gong, Lama Temple

Yonghe Gong, is a very famous Tibetan Buddhist Lama Temple in Beijing. The palace was laid out and constructed in the same manner as the Forbidden City, with the entrance on the south side, and the main buildings aligned along a north-south central axis. The Temple's ornate architecture is an eclectic mix representing the Han, Manchu, Mongol, and Tibetan building styles.

The Yonghe Gong temple was declared a major historical relic of national significance in 1949, but was none the lest closed under Mao Zedong in the 1950s. The Lama Temple was reopened in 1981, and Buddhists from around China come to pray and pay homage to the successive incarnations of the Dalai Lama.

Hand-painted Tibetan prayer scrolls called "tanka" line many of the walls, which feature elaborately carved gold-covered Buddhas and portraits of the many Dalai Lamas.

In the main hall, there is a sixty foot (18 meter) tall Buddha statue that was carved out of a single piece of white sandalwood. This one of the Lama Temple's "three matchless treasures."

As a result of the ancient architecture, every element of the temple is entirely symmetrical, with main halls on a north-south axis and wing halls on both sides. It comprises of a courtyard in the south and five main halls in separate courtyards in the north: the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, the Hall of Harmony and Peace, the Hall of Everlasting Blessings, the Hall of the Dharma Wheel and the Pavilion of Infinite Happiness. Furthermore, this splendid temple combines various architectural styles of the Han, the Manchu, the Mongolian and the Tibetan.

Edited by Athena Lee

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