White Cloud Temple (Baiyunguan, built in 739 AD) is the largest and most popular Taoist site in Beijing, serving as an active place of worship, an ancestral shrine, a reliquary, and as headquarters for the Chinese Taoism Association. The existing temple buildings date back as far as 1706. Until its recent restoration, the site had been used as a barracks for some years.
Taoism is one of the most important philosophy and religion embedded into the fabric of Chinese Culture. CCC guided expert will lead you through the beautiful White Cloud Monastery and explain the functions of all the halls and rooms, and the immortals, spirits and deities enthrined within. Get to know Taoism, indigenous religion of China through a tour to the White Cloud Temple (Bai Yun Guan) !
The temple now houses the China Taoism Association and 60 resident monks. The blue-frocked monks wear their hair in the rarely seen traditional manner: long and tied in a bun at the top of the head. It is an active place of Taoist ritual and pilgrimage and has a thriving feel to it. It is generally laid out like a Buddhist temple but with some unique features, such as the three gateways at the entrance that symbolize the Taoist three worlds: Desire, Substance and Emptiness.
The Pagoda of Tianning Temple is a beautiful Buddhist pagoda was built during the reign of Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-543). This thirteen story, 57.8 m (189 ft) tall, octagonal-based Chinese pagoda is made of brick and stone, yet imitates the design of wooden-constructed pagodas from the era by featuring ornamental dougong (bracket supports). Wonderful relief sculptures adorn the four sides of the first storey above layers of massive lotus petals that support the 13 tiers of eves that make this a great example of Liao architecture.
It rests on a large square platform, with the bottom portion of the pagoda taking on the shape of a sumeru pedestal. The pagoda features a veranda with banisters, yet is entirely solid with no hollow inside or staircase as some pagodas feature. Other ornamental designs include arched doorways and heavenly Buddhist guardians. Its design inspired that of later pagodas, such as the similar Ming Dynasty era Pagoda of Cishou Temple of Beijing built in 1576.
About the CCC "Backstreet Beijing" Walking Tour Series
This is a cultural tour series designed to rediscover some of Beijing's old districts and lanes .We will walk through areas which used to be bustling with interesting popular shops, theaters, shrines and temples and residences of important people. Over 20 walking routes have been carefully designed by CCC since 2004, covering almost all areas of old Beijing within the second ring road or beyong. CCC guides will take you back in time to rediscover the history of the lanes and get a glimpse of the authentic atmosphere of old Beijing. Along the way you'll meet some unplanned surprises, some long-time, elderly residents and interesting characters, including descendants of famous people. You'll hear their stories of the streets and neighborhoods and of China in the past century. Of course, architecture, design, the artwork of the courtyards, and other cultural aspects will be discussed as well.
Note: This series is for lovers of Beijing lore and history and those who like to walk . The talks and discussions will be detailed and the walking/tour time will be 3-4 hours or more. Each tour will be limited to 20 people.