Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Beijing Day 6 Part 1: Yong He Lamastry & Bell Tower

day 6 was a little disappointing after all e highlights from day 4 & 5

1st stop of e day: Yong He Gong (Yong He Lamastry)
which means "e palace of peace & harmony"

according to lonely planet's guidebook (pg. 91),
tis is beijing's most magnificent Buddhist temple
& was "once the official residence of Count Yin Zhen who became an emperor in 1723 & traded up to e Forbidden City.
his name was changed to Yongzheng..."

tis one is a pic of a sculpture depicting ji le shi jie
bascially it refers to e place where one goes to in afterlife

there are 5 main halls
but e finale came at e last hall
which housed 1 of e biggest statues of e Maitreya Buddha (in Tibetan form) tat i've ever seen
(unfortunately, photos were not allowed in some areas & so i'm not able to show u e full splendor of e temple)

Gerry & i spent e morning touring e place
& doing our prayers there as well

well.... we weren't very gd with burning e incense lah...
mine actually caught fire, as in BIG fire
was kinda worried tat it'll burn off my hair or somethg

after that we took e public transport to Zhong Lou (Bell Tower)
actually our intention was to catch a performance at Gu Lou (Drum Tower)
which is directly opposite e Bell Tower

but unfortunately, e Drum Tower was under restoration & therefore closed
*tis pic of e drum tower was taken from across where e bell tower is*

so we ended up @ Bell Tower instead
again abundant steep stairs prevail
*there was actually a signage tat warned tat visitors with certain health prob wld b prohibited!!*

here's e huge bell

there's a legend abt tis bell:
apparently, when e emperor commissioned for tis bell to b built
all e bell-makers (is tat wat they're called??) came tog
but after many attempts, none were able to build one to size & satisfaction
there was a deadline given by which, if e bell is still not done,
e bell-makers wld all b in really serious trouble

unfortunately, on e last day of e given deadline
e bell was still not built & they were down to e last resources avail

e chief bell-maker knew tat it wld still nt b possible to build e bell
but went ahead using e last of e raw materials

jus as e imperial entourage was about to come to inspect e bell,
e chief bell-maker's daughter distracted them
& threw herself into the furnance
chief bell-maker attempted to catch his daughter
but was only left with her embroidered shoe

despite his grief,
he knew tat his daughter's sacrifice was nt in vain
e bell was finally made
& all e bell-makers were safe

apparently, somewhere in Beijing, in some hutong,
there's a temple tat is dedicated to e bell-maker's daughter as well!!

another thg tat struck me when at Bell Tower
e ancient Chinese ppl actually managed to built all their significant structures in a straight line

here's a bit of feng shui trivia
if u ever get ur hands on a map of beijing,
u will realise that e Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Forbidden City & a couple of other structures tat are all in a straight line
& e locals call this e dragon's line; there's a dragon head, e body & e tail

actually, i wasnt very much impressed with e bell tower
tink if we had known tat e drum tower was closed
then we prob wld hv skipped tis spot totally

anyway e more exciting bits wld b coming up in part 2
*& its not even abt e sites of attraction!!*

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