One of the trips we took as an UCEAP group was to the Lama Temple 雍和宮，Imperial Academy 國子監，and Confucius Temple 孔廟. Lama Temple (Yong He Gong) is a Tibetan style Buddhist Temple. From what I remember, it is the biggest in China.
These miniature figures on rooftops are guardians of some sort.
We were told many interest things: throughout China’s history, everyone wanted to be the emperor because his word was law. The Dalai Lama, even though his word wasn’t above the emperor’s, was still very influential to help make decisions such as playing a role in governmental actions. He also contributed in choosing his successor to make sure that they would act consistent with his beliefs.
The facade of one of many of the temples.
Starting from the entrance, there were temples that we passed through, each one larger than the previous. The final one contained a Buddha that was enormous – several stories high! We weren’t allowed to take photos of the Buddhist statues inside the buildings, so there are only pictures of the outside sceneries.
Muy bonita, no?
The largest temple with the Buddha inside.
We then went to the Imperial Academy, which was the highest education institution during the Yuan, Ming, and Qing Dynasties. It was built in 1308 and is 28,000 meters squared. It remains the only intact higher education institution from ancient times. The Imperial Academy contained a beautiful courtyard and a pond that encircled the center building. This school was consistent with my image of the Forbidden City.
The entrance to the Imperial Academy
One of the three courtyards inside the school.
The white fences complement the red buildings.
The pong with lots of small red fish.
Right next to the Imperial Academy was the Confucius Temple. I didn’t get much information from this place as we were on a strict timeline (one big drawback of going as a group). However, it looks similar to many temples that I’ve seen in Beijing and Taiwan.
This was one of the few decent tours we had as a UCEAP group – as I’ve mentioned before, time limits and having an abundance of people proves to constrain everyone’s abilities to fully enjoy the place they’re visiting. We had enough time to see a good amount of the first two places though!