The Great Bell Temple is located in the Haidian District, on the northern western of Beijing city. Built in 1733, the temple houses the largest bell in China. In addition, the temple also has a small ancient bell museum and some Chinese ancient bells displayed. The temple came into being during Qing Dynasty and initially bestowed with the name JueShengSi. After about ten years, another emperor decided to move the great bell in to the temple, hence the name. From that time on, it was often chosen by the emperors to pray for rain and blessing for the people.
The temple consists of many large buildings like the Mountain Gate, the Bell and Drum Tower, the Scripture Collection Pavilion, the Great Bell Tower and other halls. Among these, the Great Bell Tower is the main part, which is a circular shape on the top and square below according to the Chinese saying that the sky is circular and the earth is square'.
The Great Bell
The Great Bell made in the first year of Emperor YongLe in the Ming Dynasty in 1403, which was hung in a Bell Palace. He decided three projects after reestablished Beijing as the capital and remove of the Bell is one of them. So the bell called YongLe Big Bell as well. The biggest bell known as China's "King of Bells" for its excellent and unique characteristics, which is 6.87 meters high, 3.3 meters in diameter, 0.22 meter thick and 46.5 tons in weight. It is hangings in the bell tower at the rear of the compound. The tower is 16.7 meters high with a square base, a circular upper structure and windows on four sides. Initially it was one to the six to be hung at the six corners of the city walls to strike the hours, but now it is the only remaining one. 31 other bronze bells from the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties are on display in the courtyard.
How was this heavy bell hung on the top of the building? After the bell was made, they waited until the winter came. Then they dug a well every 500 meters and ditches along the whole way to bring the water on the ground, which was able to turn into ice soon. So they pushed the bell along the surface to the icy earth piles in the temple. Finally they started to construct the Bell Tower and hung the bell from the top. When the spring came the following year, the ice was dissolved and they began to remove the mounds of earth.
According to the test by the Chinese Academy of Sciences, the Yongle Bell's loud and clear sound reaches up to 120 decibels and can be heard 50 kilometers away in the depth of night. The big bell tolls but once a year, on New Year's Eve. Visitors rub the handles of Qianlong's old washbasin, and scramble up narrow steps to play Chinese golf by making a wish and throwing coins through a hole in the top of the monster.
Admission Fee: RMB 10
Opening Hours: 08:30 to 17:20
Recommended Time for a Visit: 50 minutes