Tanzhe Si Temple, Beijing
While the Temple of the Consecrated Altar is known for its pine trees, the Tanzhe Si Temple, situated 8km/5mi further to the west on the Tanzheshan, is known for the temple pond. The foundations of the sacred building were laid in the 3rd C, although the temple we see today did not come into being until the 14th C. The temple's name derives from the words ''tan'', which is taken from the word ''Longtan'' (dragon pond), and ''zhe'' which comes from ''Zheshu'', the trees which grow on the mountain and were once used for silkworm breeding.The complex, which lies on a north-south axis, has its entrance in the south. Passing through the Gate of Honor (Pailou), taking the path lined with pines we reach the Mountain Gate (Shanmen). After the Hall of the Kings of Heaven (Tianwang Dian) and the sumptuous Hall of the Great Hero (Daxiong Baodian) the Vairocana Pavilion (Pilu Ge) stands at the far end of the complex's central axis; from here there is a good view of the whole area. Behind one of the halls is a 1000 year old ginkgo tree.In the eastern part of the site are the imperial family apartments and the quarters of the head of the monastery.A well-known spring is also situated here, together with the Pavilion of the Floating Beaker (Liubei Ting).At the northwestern end of the site is the Avalokiteshvar Hall, where can be seen the stone tablet on which Kublai Khan's daughter apparently knelt every day in penance for her father's sins.There are numerous pagodas in a courtyard outside the complex which were built after the 12th C. One of these is dedicated to Milao Yan.
Opening hours: 8:30am-6pm