Big Bell Temple (Dazhong Temple)

Dazhong Temple
The Big Bell Temple
  Photos

Located in the Haidian District, Beijing, Big Bell Temple was built in the year 1733 of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) and initially bestowed with the name 'Juesheng Temple'. 10 years later during the reign of another emperor, a big bell was moved into the temple, hence the name Big Bell Temple. Since then, it was often chosen by the emperors to pray for rain and blessings for the people.

The Big Bell Temple displays a number of many large buildings, such as the Mountain Gate, the Bell and Drum Towers, the Scripture Collection Pavilion and other halls. Among these, the Big Bell Tower is the main part, which is a circular shape on the top and square below according to the Chinese saying that 'the sky is circular and the earth is square'.

Like the Chinese knots, the bell in the Big Bell Temple is considered as an auspicious article in Chinese tradition. On grand ceremonies, people usually ring it 108 times to begin the celebration. It is said that there are 12 months, 24 solar terms and 72 hou (5 days a hou) on the Chinese lunar calendar, 108 in all and according to Buddhism, people have 108 worries which will be removed by it. The bell-ringing on the eve of the Chinese New Year would captivate many people as its echo carries around the vicinity, whether you were close by or just heard it via the TV broadcast. Here, you could take a very close look at the grandness of this very significant great treasure.

 

The Big Bell

It hangs in the Big Bell Tower. Made in 1403, the first year of Emperor Yongle in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), it was one of the three projects that he commanded after reestablishing Beijing as the capital. Another two were the famous Forbidden City and Temple of Heaven.
 

The Great Bell
The Great Bell of Yongle

It weighs 46.5 tons, with a height of 22.77 feet (6.94 meters). It is inscribed with Buddhist Mantras all around both the inside and outside of the body, over 227,000 characters in all. Skillfully designed, it sounds crisp and sweet by ringing lightly, while it sends a deep and resounding tone from a forcible strike which can be carried 9 miles (15 kilometers) away. For these excellent and unique characteristics, it is called 'the King of Ancient Bells' by the people.

Then how was it hung on the top of the building? After it was made, they waited until the winter came. Then they dug a well every 550 yards (503 meters) and ditches along the entire way to bring the water on the ground, which was able to turn into the ice soon. So they pushed it along the surface to the icy earth piles in the temple. Finally they started to construct the Tower and hung it from the top. When the spring came the following year, the ice was dissolved and they began to remove the mounds of earth.

 

Ancient Bell Museum

Built in 1985, it displays hundreds of cultural artifacts, including many valuable bells made in ancient China and other foreign countries. You easily gain the impression that you are walking into a kingdom of bells when you see them all. Here, you also have the chance to appreciate both the Chinese and foreign music and songs played by the famous chime bell of Marquis Yi of Zeng. (Zeng is a small state during the Warring States Period, 476 BC-221 BC), which can also be found at the Hubei Provincial Museum. They were delivered in three layers, 65 pieces in all and made from bronze.

A Bell Unearthed from the Tomb of Marquis Yi of Zeng
A Bell of Marquis Yi of Zeng
Exhibition
A Buddhist Bell of Japan
China ancient bell
A Taoist Bell

Additionally, if you would like to own one yourself, you can ask the authorized designers to either replicate or make one for you to mark an occasion, like wedding or other happy events.

 

How to get to Big Bell Temple

 By Subway:
Take Subway Line 13 and get off at Dazhongsi (Big Bell Temple) Station. Get out from Exit A and you can see the temple.
 By Bus:
1. Take bus 87, 88, 94, 300, 315, 361, 425, 584, 606, 658, 695, Special Line 8, Yuntong 101, Yuntong 201, or Fast Transit Line 300, and get off at Dazhongsi Station.
2. Take bus 80 and get off at Subway Dazhongsi Station.
 Beijing Bus / Subway Search

Admission Fee: CNY 20
The first 200 visitors can enter for free on Wednesdays.
Opening Hours: 09:00 to 16:30 from Tuesday to Sunday (Ticket sale stops at 16:00)
Recommended Time for a Visit: 1 hour

 Nearby Scenic Spots:
Beijing Zoo
Beijing Aquarium
Beijing Planetarium
 

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