Temple of Heaven

temple_of_heaven

Temple of Heaven

Located in the southeast part of Beijing, China the Temple of Heaven stands as a testament to how Chinese people reverently worship the ground that their former Emperors tread on.  Emperors use this temple to pray for a great year of harvest on behalf of the people since these royalties are considered as the “Sons of Heaven”.  The Chinese are known for using symbols for almost anything that can be found inside such a grand edifice.  Its northern part is said to symbolize the heavens while the opposite end symbolizes the earth, this is also the reason why the northern part is constructed higher than the southern part.

The Temple of Heaven was made bigger in size and splendor than the Forbidden City and the Emperor’s Summer Palace.  The main reason why this temple was given such lavish attention is because it is believed to be the main access to directly communicate with the God in Heaven through heaven’s representative: the Emperor.  The concept of designing the temple is based on the old Chinese belief that Heaven is Round and the Earth is Square.  The area where the Temple of Heaven is situated covers an area of 273 hectares which is by far larger by three times over as compared to the Forbidden City. This temple is said to be the largest place of worship in the world as an architectural tribute to heaven.

This set of interconnecting places of worship in the Temple of Heaven are linked together by a wide bridge simply known as the Sacred Way.  The most notable buildings to visit in the Temple of Heaven have got to be the Circular Mound Altar constructed similar to a platform where the Emperor prays for a year of good weather conditions so that the Chinese people will be spared from drought or floods.  Near this Circular Mound Altar lies the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest where you can see 28 huge posts.  The 4 posts in the center represent the four seasons: winter, spring, summer and autumn.  The 12 posts in the middle represents the twelve months in a year.  The remaining 12 posts represent time each multiplied by two to make it 24 hours.

The Imperial Vault of Heaven contains the tablet of both the God of Heaven and the Emperors ancestors’ tablets as well is an interesting building to visit in the Temple of Heaven.  Visitors will find out that as early as ancient time, Chinese people have found the use of sound waves useful as clearly seen in the Three Echo Stones where you can stand and hear three echoes as you step from one stone to the other.  Still following the same principle, another good place to visit is the Echo wall where you and a friend can stand on opposite ends and still clearly hear your whispers to each other.

The Temple of Heaven is surrounded by cypress trees which some are said to be as old as 600 years old.  In these gardens you can find the Nine Dragon Cypress which resembles closely intertwining nine dragons, this is where these famous ancient cypress trees got its name.

Final Words on The Temple Of Heaven

Right now, this is a beautiful place to have your picnic with your family or friends when you go for a visit to this temple.  The best time of the year when you can go and visit this historical site in Beijing, China is during spring time since the air is not as hot compared to summer when you might suffer from heat stroke for prolong exposure to the sun while you are happily visiting the place.  Even though the winter months look a bit lonely, it is when tourists can take advantage of hearing the sounds of the Echo Wall and Three Echo Stones.  If you are on a budget you can take the bus when going to the Temple but this is a longer and slower ride when compared with the Beijing subway which is the fastest mode of transportation going to the Temple of Heaven.  If you want to save on your trip to Beijing, China you can ask if the tour package includes the bus ride and entrance fee into the Temple of Heaven.