This weekend was pretty packed full of sightseeing (aren’t they all) so I’m going to split it into two different posts. On Saturday we took the subway to the Lama Temple. The subway here is so easy to get and very very cheap. It seems daunting at first but all the signs have English translations too, and journeys cost 2-5 RNB (about 20-50p) depending on how far you go. The one downside is that it does take quite a long time because Beijing is such a huge city so it’s ages between stops.
I think Saturday had to be one of the hottest days since I got here. No joke, I was actually sweating before I left the courtyard where I live, it was DISGUSTING. It’s not so bad when you just suck it up and accept that you’re going to be sweaty and gross all day, however we were meeting the CEO of the company I’m interning at for dinner in the evening. Safe to say by the time we arrived we were all pretty gross.
The Lama Temple is a working temple in the centre of Beijing. As you can see from the photos above, the colours and building style are the traditional ones which they also used in places like the forbidden city. It generally did have a very similar feel to the forbidden city, just on nowhere near the same scale so it was much more manageable.
As we walked in we were instantly greeted by clouds of fragrant smoke, pouring out of the huge incense pots in front of the first building. People were clustered round large candles to either side, lighting the incense. In the centre was a padded surface to kneel before the altar with several people praying with their incense sticks.
In my time in Asia I have been to many temples for many different religions in many different countries, but it still never fails to amaze me how beautiful they are and how devoted people are to their religion. I find it absolutely fascinating seeing people worshipping and the differences in customs. I must admit, I don’t really understand most of what’s going on, but I think as long as you stay being respectful and follow the examples set by others around you then it’s all okay. One of the things that amazes me the most is the statues. The gold contrasts the colours of all the fabrics that adorn them so vividly, and the way they dominate the room and gaze down at you from their heights is something that I still find incredible. The amount of work and dedication that goes into every little detail really is inspiring and mind-blowing to think about.
The last building of the temple complex houses the most impressive statue of them all. The picture above really doesn’t do it justice, it was absolutely HUGE. The folds of gold just seemed to go on and on, and there was so much detail put into the crown and the surrounding room.