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Lama Temple in Beijing

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The Lama or Yonghe Temple is the biggest and most preserved Tibetan lamasery in China. A popular tourist attraction that you can’t miss while visiting Beijing.

Worshippers burn incense at the Lama Temple front entrance.

Since the Forbidden City was closed during my stay in Beijing, I visited the lesser known Yonghe or Lama Temple, a Tibetan Buddhism temple that managed to survive the cultural revolution.

The temple once served as a residence of the man who would become the Yongzheng emperor and still staffs monks to this day.

Worshippers light incense at various receptacles in front of each building and the halls get bigger and taller as their level of importance grows.

The Yonghe Temple is also known as a lamasery or as the Palace of Harmony and Peace Palace.

What is a lamasery?

A lamasery is a monastery of lamas. Lamas are the spiritual leaders/ monks of Tibetan Buddhism. The highest spiritual leader in Tibet and Tibetan Buddhism is of course the Dalai Lama.

There are many buildings in the Lama temple and perhaps the biggest surprise is the 59 feet tall Buddha statue carved of sandalwood. This statue was a gift from the 7th Dalai Lama to emperor Qianlong.

The Lama temple is also surrounded by a beautiful garden with many areas to explore and spend a few hours.

Garden at the entrance of Lama Temple

If you are traveling to China and more specifically Beijing, you should put the Lama Temple in your must-see list.

Prayer wheel at Yonge temple in Beijing
Work of art made of metal - incredible detail

How to get to Yonghe Temple

The easiest way to get to the temple is by subway. Take Subway Line 2 or Line 5 to Yonghegong (Yonghe Temple) Station, get out of the station from Exit F. Walk south for a few blocks and turn east. There are signs to guide you to the temple.

Man worshipping

If you liked reading about Lama Temple and want more things to do in China, check out these travel guides:

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Tibetan Lama Temple in Beijing

Published September 2016. Updated June 2020.

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