Yonghe Temple (Lama Temple)

12 Yonghegong St, Dongcheng Qu, China, 100007

To understand China, it’s imperative to understand the important role religion and philosophy play in the culture. Buddhism is one such influence, and this gorgeous temple tells a bit of that story. Yonghegong is in the northern part of Beijing and is easily accessible by bus or subway. Go late in the afternoon to avoid the tour buses and catch monks in the midst of their ceremonies.

Yonghegong is also known as the Yonghe Temple, Yonghe Lamasery, and Lama Temple.

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This Tibetan Buddhist temple was once the residence of a Qing Emperor. It was converted into a lamasery after his ascension to the throne, and that Imperial connection is marked by use of yellow ceramic tiles on the rooftops. It is a working Buddhist temple, though one crowded by pilgrims—and plenty of tourists. You will see full religious expression here, with burning incense held high on the forehead, the supplicant bowing in each cardinal direction. Glittering statues, clattering prayer wheels, fragrant incense, grotesque statues overload the senses.

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