Temple of Azure Clouds (Biyun Temple)

The Temple of Azure Clouds, aka Biyun Temple, is just outside the north gate of Fragrant Hills Park which is 17 miles (28 kilometers) northwest of Beijing City. It was initially built during the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) and was taken reconstruction during the Ming and Qing Dynasties. The interior buildings almost retain the style of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) completely.

The gate of the Temple of Azure Clouds facing the stone lions is called the Mountain Gate. Close to it is a very deep pool that never dries up. On both sides of it are two Buddhist guardians carved during the Ming Dynasty and each with a height of 16 feet (5m). Upon entering it, tourists first visit the Front Palace where the stout Maitreya is displayed and then they encounter the Sakyamuni's Palace where there are statues of Sakyamuni and his disciples as well as the Arhats.
Temple of Azure Clouds
Temple of Azure Clouds
Dr.Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
Dr. Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall
The most famous buildings inside the Temple of Azure Clouds, however, are the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall in the center, the Five Hundred Arhats Hall and the Vajra Throne Tower.

There is a red wooden plaque hanging above the front gate of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. The words on the plaque engraved in gold was written by Sun's wife, Song Qingling. Inside this hall lies an empty crystal coffin presented by the USSR government in 1925 in memory of Sun Yat-sen. Since his body had already been buried elsewhere, the coffin was left here till now. Photos of Sun Yat-sen, his handwriting, his books and his statue are also on display inside this hall.

Biyun Temple, BeijingThe Five Hundred Arhats Hall located on the west side includes nine rooms, four small wells and a pavilion. The inner side of the front gate has figures of four heavenly kings, and three powerful Buddhas, Burning Lamp Buddha, Sakyamuni and Maitreya, are placed in the middle of this hall. Another Buddha called Ji Gong, squats on the beam of the house.

There is a legend about Ji Gong: A long time ago when a meeting of selecting Arhats was to be held in this hall, Ji Gong had arrived very early and found that the door was locked, so he went out to take a walk and met a girl who was in danger. After rescuing her, he returned to the hall and found that all the seats were occupied. Therefore, Ji Gong had to sit on the beam.

Altogether there are 512 statues, including 500 wooden Arhats, 11 Bodhisattvas and one statue of Ji Gong. All the Arhats are vivid life-size statues with different poses and expressions. It has been said that two of these Arhats were the statues of Emperor Kangxi and Emperor Qianlong of the Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911).

The magnificent Vajra Throne Tower is the highest building in the Temple of Azure Clouds. This 115-feet-tall (35-meter-tall) tower with elegant decorations is well-known within the area of Beijing City for its high elevation. The tower is located on Xishan (West Hill) and when you climb to the top, it is a perfect observational position to view all the scenery in the suburbs of the city.

It is suggested that tourists visit the Wofo Temple (Temple of Recumbent Buddha) first, then Fragrant Hills Park, and lastly the Temple of Azure Clouds. The three sites can be covered in one itinerary and can be reached by public buses.

How to get there

 By Subway:
Take Subway Line 4 and get off at Beigongmen Station. Get out from Exit A and transfer to bus 563 to Xiangshan Gongyuan Dongmen (east gate of the Fragrant Hills Park) Station. Visitors can also take bus 331 from Beihongmen Subway Station to Xiangshan (Fragrant Hills) Station.
 By Bus:
1. Take bus 563 to Xiangshan Gongyuan Dongmen Station.
2. Take bus 318, 331, 360, 630, or 698 and get off at Xiangshan Station.
 Beijing Bus / Subway Search
Admission Fee CNY 10. Visitors need to buy the ticket of the Fragrant Hills Park in order to get into the temple.
Combo ticket for the Fragrant Hills Park and the temple:
Apr. 1 to Nov. 15: CNY 15
Nov. 16 to Mar. 31: CNY 14
Opening Hours 8:00 to 16:30
Recommended Time for a Visit One hour

Neighboring Attractions:
  Badachu Park
 Stone Forest Gorge Scenic Area
 Haolaosi Farm House
 Jingdong Great Dissolving Cave Scenic Area
 Huangsongyu Geological Museum
 Shilinxia Resort

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