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Baiyun Taoist Temple

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Baiyun Taoist Temple is located in Binhe Road, Xuanwu District. It is known as Baiyun Guan in Chinese and can be also called the Temple of White Clouds. Baiyun Guan is the oldest and largest Taoist building existent in Beijing and the biggest Taoist activity center in Beijing. It is housing the office to the Chinese Taoist Association and the Chinese Taoist College and enjoys a high reputation in the whole Chinese Country.

Baiyun Taoist Temple was first built in Tang dynasty in 739 AD to offer the sacrifice of Lao Tzu (the founder of the Taoism). In Jin and Yuan dynasty it was called Tianchang Guan or the Temple of Supreme Ultimate and renamed Taiji Palace later. It was in Ming dynasty, it got the present name. The temple has under many rebuilt through its long history. In 1224, Genghis Khan ordered the reconstruction of the temple to commemorate Qiu Chuji --- the grandfather of the Quanzhen School (a branch of the Taoism) who was honored by Genghis Khan for his bravery expostulation about stopping the war and killing.

With the large and magnificent scale, the Baiyun Taoist Temple constitutes by the quadrangle courtyards placed layer by layer. There are many buildings in the temple such as the Colorful Torii, the Lingguan Hall, the Jade Emperor Hall, the Godfather Qius Hall, the Yunji Garden and so on. Along its main axis, beyond the ornamental gate and the inner gate, quadrangle courtyards and the halls are lined up. A guardian figure stands in the first hall, while the jade emperor, the highest deity of Taoism, is seated on his throne surrounded by the gods of stars and the heavens in the seconds. The third hall contains the figures of seven saints and the fourth and the final hall is a two-storey mausoleum for Qiu Chuji. His bones are laid to rest underneath his statue on the ground floor, while the three pure ones, the highest god in the Taoism, are worshiped in the upper floor. The smaller halls of the western side courtyards are dedicated to the mother goddesses (responsible for the fertility, painless birth and the health of the offspring) as well as to the important Confucians and the sixty gods of the years. Two beautiful and colorful murals can be found in the Monastery Garden. The murals depict the Taoist Pantheon and the Eight Immortals Crossing The Sea (a rather famous Chinese legend).

Visitors here can also get lots of fun. For instance, the arches at the front have detailed traditional images including two hidden monkeys. Visitors believe it is lucky to find and touch them. At busy times, there is actually a line of people waiting to touch them, which takes the fun out of finding them too. Besides, there is a stone bridge called Yufeng Bridge under which are two-oversized big Chinese copper coins with each has a small bell hanging inside the middle hole. For a couple of dollars you can buy a bunch of fake coins to throw at the bells. It is said to be lucky if you can hit the bell with a coin throwing from either side. Besides, there will be a Temple Fair (called Miaohui in Chinese, its an traditional Chinese cultural event featuring all kinds of Chinese folk arts) held annually in the Baiyun Taoist Temple.

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