The Temple of Heaven is considered as holy and sacred shrine of Beijing. It is considered as one of the imperial temples of Beijing and a masterpiece of landscape design and architecture. It is located in Chongwen District, the place where emperors of Qing Dynasty and Ming Dynasty. The shrine was rebuilt and enlarged during Jiaging Ming emperor. The temple was then opened to the public as a park, for display of history, religion, philosophy in the year 1988.
History of the temple
According to the tale associated with, in winter solstice emperor came to worship Heaven and prayed for good harvest. With the rule of legitimized by apparent dictate from Heaven, a not so good harvest was received, contrary threatens for stability of the region was experiencing. After this, without measure of self-interest emperor frequently prayed for good harvest, and received thereby a good crop.
About the Temple of Heaven
The temple is spread over an area of 2,700,000 square meters and is larger than ‘Forbidden City’. As ‘Son of Heaven’, the Chinese emperor was introduced for building a dwelling place for themselves. The place was larger than their earthly residence hence dedicated the place as ‘Heaven’. The temple is divided in two complexes. The shrine is guarded and enclosed by huge walls. The northern part of the temple complex is semi-circular which symbolizes heaven, while the south part symbolizes earth. The North side is huge and higher than the south side. As per beliefs and designs, the heaven side is high while earth is low.
The complete shrine is divided by encircling as an inner part and the outer part. The magnificent building is ‘Huanquiutan’ the Circular Mound Altar, ‘Huangqiongyu’ the Hall of Prayer from South to North.
Circular Mound Altar
This is located in the southern part of the temple complex, it is said, during the Ming and Qing Dynasty, the emperor would sacrifice at this place to heaven. The Lingxing Gates, Terrace of Worshipping Heaven, Heaven heart stone, Firewood Stove are popular points to visit.
Imperial Vault of Heaven
The Vault of Heaven is located on the middle axis to the north. The place has famous Echo Wall, Dialogue Stone, three Echo Stones, which are interesting sites to learn the theory of sound wave.
The Danbhi Bridge is also called Vermilion Bridge. It connects southern part and northern part. Emperors believed that, this bridge might help them to go to heaven, hence was named as ‘Sacred Way’. The Sacred Way had three routes Imperial route used by only the Emperor, central one and Princes route.
At present, the Temple of Heaven has 60,000 varieties of trees. The Nine- Dragon Cypress is the most famous tree. The tree is 500-years old, its branches winded in each other. The place is ideal for people who prefer enjoying cycling, running, dancing, singing and so on!
Things to do
During imperial times, people were not allowed to enter the temple premises or park. While, presently the temple and park are open for public with minimal fee where everyone can enjoy! Best time to visit this place is in the early morning. It is worth waking early and reaching to get a glimpse.
One might often see, people doing exercise, learning Karate, martial arts, dance and many more activities. Tai Chi is a special and popular martial art taught at this place. The art teaches to control consciousness within the body.