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Tanzhe Temple

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Tanzhe Temple lies in the southeast part of Mentougou District at the west suburb of Beijing, 41 kilometers away from Fuchengmen Gate of Beijing downtown area. Tanzhe Temple faces to the south and lies against Baofeng Peak with nine other peaks looping around in a shape of horse hoof. Lofty mountain ranges ward off cold snap and the pleasant climate has formed a fairyland with beautiful natural landscapes.

Tanzhe Temple, which was built in Western Jin dynasty with the name of Jiafu Temple, is the oldest Buddhist temple built in Beijing area with a history of more than 1,700 years. Though thousand of years, it was called Longquan Temple in Tang dynasty, Dawanshou Temple in Jin dynasty, Jiafu Temple again in Ming dynasty and Xiuyun Temple in Qing dynasty. However, Tanzhe Temple (Temple with Pond and Cudrania), which named after the Dragon Pond behind the temple and the rare three-bristle cudranias growing on the hills, has been well known by all the people.
Occupying an area of 2.5 hectare, Tanzhe Temple totally has 943 rooms with 638 rooms in ancient architecture style. It is known as the largest architecture group of ancient temples of Ming and Qing architecture style with many ancient trees scattered around. The whole construction group fully represents the esthetical principle of the Chinese ancient architecture. And people could see various forms of palace, hall, pavilion, tower, fast room and altar. The complex is divided into three parts. The middle part includes the Archway Tower, Temple Gate, the Heaven King Hall, Daxiong Baodian, and Pilu Pavilion. The Daxiong Baodian is so imposing with long gilded chains hung at either end of the main roof ridge. To the east grows an ancient gingko tree with 1000 years old and it was named the "Emperor Tree" by Emperor Qianlong of Qing dynasty. Pilu Pavilion stands on the highest point in the temple grounds. It offers an excellent view of the whole temple and its surrounding areas. The eastern section consists of the courtyard buildings, including the Abbot's Room and the Imperial Palace, where the emperor would stay for short trips away from the capital during Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). The western section includes an ordination altar and the Guanyin Hall. Outside the temple, one could also see many constructions as the Ease and Longevity Hall and the pagoda groups.

Tanzhe Temple has many famous scenes and rare and valuable historical site and culture relics including the stone fish, stone tablet with poem of Jin dynasty, giant copper boiler, dragon beard bamboo and worship bricks of Princess Miaoyan. Besides, one could also see the splendid pagoda garden with 75 pagodas in front of the Tanzhe Temple. It is the best-preserved pagoda forest with the largest amount of pagodas in Beijing so far. Those pagodas are the pagoda tombs of the monks who practice their Buddhist art in Tanzhe Temple and have witnessed the development of Tanzhe Temple through thousands of years. Among the so many pagodas, probably the best known is the one of Princess of Miaoyan, daughter of Kublai Khan, of the Yuan Dynasty. In order to redeem her father from killing so many people in battles, she converted herself to Buddhism, and spent the rest of her life here. Her pagoda tomb is a solid brick five-storey construction with elaborate eaves, with a smaller pagoda on each side for company. Whats more, Master Dehuadas tomb is a solid stone pagoda like an upside-down bowl, constructed entirely of carved white marble, granite and other precious stones, eye-catching and very different in color from others in gray. The tombs provide an informational resource, both in written language and real objects, to the study of Buddhist pagoda evolution. Built in different dynasties as Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing, those pagodas with various styles have great value on the research of the ancient pagoda architecture and worth visiting.

Through thousands of years, Tanzhe Temple has attracted many rulers and nobles in the past dynasties with its centuries-old history, grand buildings, beautiful natural views and interesting folklores. And it also has the reputation of the First Temple in Capital Beijing. While currently, with abundant historical and culture relics, charming natural views and many modern facilities, Tanzhe Temple has became a renowned Buddhist temple as well as a famous tourist destination.

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