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Tanzhesi Temple

Buddha in TanzhesiSituated in the Mentougou District, west of Beijing City, Tanzhesi (Temple of Pool and Cudrania) is surrounded by mountains on four sides. The ancient trees pierce into the sky, the local environment is quite beautiful. It is the oldest temple in Beijing, and a local saying goes that "the history of Tanzhesi is earlier than that of Beijing City". Renowned for its age, the Tanzhesi dates back to the Jin Dynasty(265-420) with its initial name Jiafusi (Temple of Auspicious Fortune). After it was extended in 1692, the 31st year of Kangxi Penod of Qing Dynasty, the temple was renamed Xiuyunsi (Temple of Hill and Cloud). Since there is a "dragon pool" behind the temple, and there are many cudrania trees in the mountain, people habitually called it Tanzhesi.

The Tanzhesi in the history enjoys a reputation of "the first royal temple" since it was favored by the emperors of all dynasties. It reached the height of splendor in scale at the "Kangxi-Qianlong Flourishing Age" in the Qing Dynasty. At that time, the temple had more than 3,000 monks.


The Tanzhesi was built into the landscape and laid out in a beautiful setting, demonstrating the aesthetic principle of China's ancient architecture. A central axis line runs through the group of buildings, old trees in Tanzhesithe left and right sides are basically symmetrical. Several groups of buildings stand on the terraces one higher than the other, and all structures of the temple are laid out along three parallel north, south axes.

The principal buildings sitting on the central line of Tanzhesi are Tianwangdian (Hall of Heavenly Kings), Daxiongbaodian (Mahavira Hall), Zhaitang (Fast Hall)and Piluge (Shrine of Vairocana). The Daxiongbaodian is the most magnificent building in the temple. The statue of Sakyamuni with peaceful expression is placed in the middle of the palace. The statues of Ananda and Kasyapa, two disciples of Sakyamuni, stand respectively beside the statue of Buddha. The statues of Ananda and Kasyapa, made of wood coated with gold, were carved finely in the Qing Dynasty. Standing on the east axis are abbot's yard and the yard with imperial palace, while there are such sacrificial altars as Lengyan Altar and Ordination Altar, and the Buddha's palace such as the Bhaisajyaraja's Palace and Avalokitesvara's Palace on the west axis.

In addition, there are more than 70 stupas of the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties in the upper and lower stupa yards outside the gate of Tanzhesi. Built during different periods and in different styles, the stupas make valuable material in the study of pagoda architecture.

All the mountains in Tanzhesi are covered with green trees, many of which are ancient trees and famous trees of different varieties. There are 186 national protected first-class and second-class ancient trees. Of the trees, the Emperor Tree, Tree of Emperor's Spouse, salas, cudranias and ancient Pine trees and cypresses are all very famous. The temple also planted purple bamboo, and the rare bamboo named "Golden Inlaid with Jade" and "Jade Inlaid with Golden" as well as the famous and precious purple yulan magnolia.


Tanzhesi Tour

With long history and beautiful scenery, Tanzhesi has become more and more popular in recent years. And during  Tanzhesi Tour, tourists could also learn more about the China's ancient architecture.