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Tanzhe Temple

Introduction

Situated in the Western Hills, this Buddhist temple lies 45km (28 miles) west of Beijing. The templeís name means dragon pool and mulberry tree temple, due to its proximity to the Dragon Pool and the trees growing in the surrounding hills. The temple dates back 1,600 years, although its name has changed on numerous occasions. Covering an area 41,600 sq meters, this temple is one of the largest in the area.

Most of the buildings are in typical Ming and Qing style architecture. The temple is divided between the Hall of Abstinence, the Ordination Altar and the Hall to Guanyin. The latter has received fame because of its association with princess Miaoyan, daughter of Kublai Khan. The princess is said to have entered the nunnery here in the 13th century. Within the hall indentations can be found on the stone on which she always knelt and prayed. Supposedly she was also buried within the temple compound. A statue of her is on display at the temple.

The greenery in the area is spectacular especially in the spring when the fruit trees are in blossom. In the compound there is also an ancient ginko tree known as the emperorís tree that stands 30 meters (98ft) high and was supposedly planted in the Liao dynasty (916-1125AD).

 
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