Located in Mentougou District 22 miles (35 kilometers) west of the urban area, Jietai Temple is one of the oldest royal Buddhist temples in Beijing. It was constructed in the Tang Dynasty (618-907), covering an area of 11 acres (4 hectares). Jietai Temple is famous for the largest Buddhist ordination terrace existent in China, thus also called the Ordination Terrace Temple.
The ordination terrace or ordination altar, Jietai in Chinese, is the place to initiate someone into monkhood or nunhood in Buddhism. Located in the middle of the Grand Hall of Ordination Terrace, the altar is a 3.5-meter-high (11.5-feet-high) square tower made of bluestone. On the four sides of the terrace, there are 113 statues of Buddha, which were all remade in the 1980s by the famous Chinese clay figurine master Zhang Ming and his apprentice.
The ordination terrace was first built in the Liao Dynasty (916-1125) by Fajun, who was an eminent monk of the Lu Sect, a branch of Buddhism. It was called the "No. 1 Ordination Terrace in China" at that time. In order to commend Fajun's work, the Emperor granted him the Yuzhi Jieben, a sutra that was copied by the Emperor himself. Since the one who held the Yuzhi Jieben would be recognized as the leader of the Lu Sect in China, this book has become the most important treasure of Jietai temple. It has become the sacred land of the Lu Sect and the highest Buddhist institution in northern China.
Ancient Buildings and Plants
After going through the Hall of the Heavenly Kings, you can see the Mahavira Hall. The Buddha Shakyamuni is worshipped in it and the Amitabha and the Medicine Buddha are at the two sides of Shakyamuni respectively. The hall behind the Mahavira Hall is the Hall of One Thousand Buddha Statues, unfortunately now only the ruins of the hall remain and the original site can not be seen.
Having seen the ancient buildings, visitors can now appreciate the precious plants. There are five famous old pines in Jietai Temple, which were named the Pagoda Hugging Pine, the Sleeping Dragon Pine, the Nine Dragons Pine, the Moving Pine and the At Ease Pine. They all have their own characteristics.
Apart from the precious trees, the flowers in Jietai Temple are also a great attraction. It has more than 1,000 lilac trees of which 20 are more than 200 years old. Every year from April to May, the lilacs blossom makes Jietai Temple seem covered in a sea of flowers. Every year when the lilacs are in full bloom, the lilacs festival is held. It starts from April and ends in May. The splendid bloom provides an unforgettable memory for visitors.
In Jietai Temple there is a Peony Yard, where there are many old peony trees. It is said that the earliest one was panted by Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty but most of the peony trees were planted by Prince Gong (1833-1898). In the yard there are many precious species, such as the green peony, the black peony and the multi-layer peony.
Speical Activities during Festivals
How to get to Jietai Temple
Beijing Bus / Subway Search
CNY 45 per adult; free for children under 3.9 feet (1.2m)
Combo Ticket for Jietai Temple and Tanzhe Temple: CNY 80
April to October: 08:00-17:30; November to March: 08:00-17:00
|Tips||The best time to enjoy the lilacs is from April 15th to May 15th|
Seems like all the trains stop at West Train Station only - can you advise how far it'll take for me to go from the Station to the Chongwen District? Which is the best mode of transport?
I'll need to book train tickets from Beijing to Shanghai - are there any ways I can book the tickets in advance by phone?