Yonghe Lama Temple Beijing
Yonghegong (the Lama Temple) is located in the northeast of Beijing and covers a space of 660,000 square metres. It looks like an imperial palace with its red walls and yellow roofing tiles. It is the largest Buddhist temple of the Yellow-sect in Beijing and has been completely preserved. Built in 1694 as the residence of Count Yin Zhen, the fourth son of the Emperor Kangxi, it was called "the Palace of Count Yong." After Yin Zhen became the Emperor, he continued to use it as an imperial palace for short stays away from the capital. In 1744, it was converted into a lamasery. Yonghegong is the most renowned Tibetan Buddhist temple in China outside Tibet and holds treasures of both the Han and Tibetan cultures.
Yonghegong Lamasery is a combination of mainstream Han and ethnic Tibetan Buddhist architectural styles. Covering an area of 66 000 square meters the temple has 1 000 rooms altogether. There are five main buildings lying on the north-south axis in the temple-the Gate of Harmony the Hall of Harmony the Hall of Eternal Blessing the Hall of the Wheel of the Law and Wanfuge (Ten-Thousand-Happiness Pavilion).
Yonghegong (the Lama Temple) stands facing south. The building is very grand and has a unique character and its Buddhist statues are very precious. It consists of an archway and five grand halls in addition to another four academic halls on either side - the Hall of Teaching Buddhist Scripture, the Hall of the Esoteric Sect, the Hall of Mathematics, and the Hall of Medicine. The layout of the complex is influenced by a combination of traditional Han, Tibetan, Manchu, and Mongolian architecture. The Hall of Falun houses the huge white statue of Buddha made of one massive piece of sandalwood. This and the Buddhist Shrine in the Zhaofo Tower carved from nanmu are the two most precious wood carvings of the Yonghegong Lamasery.
Wanfuge (Ten-Thousand-Happiness Pavilion) is the largest pavilion in the temple. In the center of the pavilion is a huge standing statue of Maitreya Buddha of the Future carved out of a single trunk of white sandalwood tree presented by the Seventh Dalai Lama. It is 26 meters high 18 meters above the ground and 8 meters under the ground and 8 meters in diameter. According to the Guinness Book of World Records the Maitreya is the tallest and biggest in the world today. Behind the Great Buddha there are ten thousand small Buddhist statues on three storeys hence the name Ten-Thousand-Happiness Pavilion.