Jietai Temple

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

When entering it, the first building visitors see is the Gate Hall, its entrance. In front of the hall is a tablet, on which is carved the passage written by Emperor Kangxi (1661-1722) of the Qing Dynasty. Behind the Hall is the Hall of Heavenly Kings. The Buddha Maitreya is worshiped in the middle of the hall and beside it are the four Heavenly Kings.

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

Having appreciated the attractions, visitors can also enjoy the activities held in it. During the Dragon Boat Festival, there is a series of activities including Eating Zongzi (pyramid-shaped glutinous rice wrapped in reed or bamboo leaves), Wearing Sachet and Praying Blessing. In other festivals of the year such as the New Year's Day and the Spring Festival's Eve, there is Bell Tolling to Welcoming the New Year activity. These traditional Chinese activities allow visitors to experience the best of Chinese culture.

How to get to Jietai Temple

Take Subway Line 1 to Pingguoyuan Station. Then transfer to bus 948 and get off at Jietaisi (Jietai Temple) Station. Bus 948 departs from Pingguoyuan Station regularly at 07:00, 10:00, 13:00, and 16:10.
 Beijing Bus / Subway Search

Admission Fee
CNY 45 per adult; free for children under 3.9 feet (1.2m)
Combo Ticket for Jietai Temple and Tanzhe Temple: CNY 80
Opening Hours
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


Suggested Itinerary:
Temples Exploration: one day trip to Jietai Temple, and Buddhist Cliff Figures of ShiFo Village
More Beijing Tours

 Other Attractions in Mentougou, Beijing:
 Tanzhe Temple
 Mount Miaofeng
 Baihua Mountain
 Cuandixia Village

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