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15/07/2013

Things to do in Chengde II

6. Puning Temple - a must-see in Chengde!

This was our favorite temple in Chengde (an optional destination for affordable China tours), partly because it's a working temple with many monks and even some worshippers present. We observed the burning of incense, candle lighting, playing music, and a quiet show of reverence amongst many visitors. Reaching Mahayana Hall, we were amazed by the huge (22m) statute of Guanyin, the Buddhist goddess of mercy (no photography allowed.) It's so tall that you can't really see up to the head very clearly. That is, unless you pay the 10 yuan to go up the side stairs, using the torch they provide you with, to reach head level. In our case it was totally worth the price; we were the only ones up there, and with the provided torch, we could examine her closely. Continuing up beyond the hall, off to the side, you can peek over a wall and see where some of the monks must live or meditate. We were mostly alone during this latter part of our visit, exploring the different parts of the Tibetan style buildings at the back. Our kids loved climbing the rocks and paths, and we enjoyed the overall peaceful quality of the compound. The touristy Puning street at the end (on the way back) is just a street-long gift shop, with workers dressed in ancient style costume. We weren't really interested in what they were selling, but it was nice to walk through the street and see the buildings.

7. Chinese copy of Potala

The Chinese emperor who build this new 'summer palace' also wanted to have temples from the different religions in this country. To impress the people, i assume. So there were build different temples in Chengde. I've visited only two. This is the 'little Potala': Putuozongsheng Temple.

When we visited it was a very hot day - and this was in the mountains, so Beijing must have been killing - and climbing this temple took 1 liter of water. It is on sale and - as always - requires some negotiating. It is a steep climb and inside a lot of stairs. The views are great. Inside is interesting: it is big and had a large inner court yard with a temple. There were some exhibitions.

8. Putuo Zongcheng Temple (Mini Potala Palace)

The most spectacular Tibetan style temple built in 1771 to celebrate Emperor Qinglong’s birthday. It was one of the Eight Outer Temples outside the Summer Resort. It was similar to the Poala Palace (famous destination for top 10 China tours) in Lhasa, where the architectures came with three halls. A square architecture form the principal part and the top of the halls were covered with copper gold tiles. Used to be a location for important religion ceremonies, now, it has become an important monument in Chengde. Another of my favourite landscape for its distinctive structure. I look forward to see the actual Potala Palace in Tibet!

9. Chengde Waiba Miao (Eight Outer Temple)

Not far away from the Summer Resort of Chengde, there are 12 temples built in the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911). These temples are built between 1750-1780 and the building are very old and most of them was in renovation when we visit in April 2000.

Chengde was dominated by 8 districts at that time hence they called the Eight Outer Temples. These temple took 67 years to build and the different architectural style stand for the various minorities in China.Till today,there are only 7 temples left.The architectures in the Eight Outer Temples are Tibet style, Han Nationality style, Han and Tibet (famous destination for popular China travel package) combination styles.

10 . Temples

It is an enjoyable walk to the temples, which are not far from the city centre.

There once have been about 9 temples in a row at the hills north of the summer palace. A few of them can be visited by tourists. The rest is either destroyed or in a military surrounding, where you are not allowed to go.

The temple are all in differents styles. This one looks like an mixture of Chinese and Tibetan architecture. Inside the wall is a square building.

For more via China guide.

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