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.
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.
If you are traveling to China and more specifically Beijing, you should put the Lama Temple in your must-see list.
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.
If you liked reading about Lama Temple and want more things to do in China, check out these travel guides:
- The Hutongs of Beijing
- Cooking Class in Beijing
- Forbidden City
- The Great Wall of China
- Summer Palace of Beijing
- Temple of Heaven
- Terracotta Warriors
- Xian Travel Guide
- Things to Do in Shanghai
- Eating Weirds Foods in Beijing
- Watching a Military Parade in China
Published September 2016. Updated June 2020.