The decadent rooftops of the Lama Temple, or Yonghe Gong in Chinese, are reason enough to visit. The active Tibetan Buddhist monastery is the city’s largest temple. It started life in the late 1600s as a residence for the emperor’s son. The son become emperor in the 1720s and moved to the Forbidden City. It became a lamasery for Tibetan and Mongolian monks in the 1740s.
The temple was closed during the Cultural Revolution and wasn’t reopened until the early 1980s.
Yonghe Gong is a busy place, popular with worshippers and visitors. It has five halls, each larger than the next. Outside its walls shops sell incense and tapes of Tibetan chants.
How To Get There
Take the subway to the Younghegong stop. If you take a taxi ask your hotel reception to write down the name of the temple in Chinese so that you can hand it to the driver. There are plenty of taxis outside the temple for your trip back. Younghe Gong is open 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. daily. Admission is 25 yuan.