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Temple of Heaven is one of the attractions located in Beijing, China, that has always been crowded by the tourists for its beauty and luxury. In the past, this was a place where Emperor Ming and Qing rolled out the rituals to the Gods for the good crops. Nowadays, the building is still maintained well even the details still represent the ancient architectures and decorations. Meanwhile, the scenery around is also scenic makes this temple area a really good spot for taking pictures.
Temple of Heaven, the Majestic Site Where the Kings Prayed for the Harvest
If you enter the location from the southern gate, the first building to be found is the Circular Altar. It was established in 1530 and then renovated in 1740. This altar is in the form of a square on the base and there are three other stacks above it in the form of circles. The square represents the earth and the circles mean the heaven. There are many symbolic meanings behind each detail of this altar. The center of this building symbolizes the number 9, the highest single number. The 9 here means the highest level of human being when he was able to do all the good things and reached the heaven. Until the year 1911, before the collapse of China Empire, this place was functioned to give the sacrifice to the Gods. The emperor sacrifices some animals, Chinese wine, jade tablets, silks and many more there. He was then kneeled down to honor the Gods right on the center of the altar.
The main building of the Temple of Heaven itself is in the form of a circular building, quite similar to a pagoda. It looks like having three floors from the outside. However, the temple actually only consists of a floor that is quite high from the floor to the ceiling. The roof is in blue to represent the sky. This way, the kings might feel much closer to the Gods. There is a smaller building near the main one known as the Imperial Vault of Heaven. In general, the shape is very similar to the Temple of Heaven. This building is surrounded by the wall and placed between two spots known as the Gods' offices. In this place, the emperors were fasting for three days before the sacrifice ceremony. Some stones in front of the temple are able to produce echo when you clap your hands on it. That's why the stones are also known as the Echo Wall.
The ancient buildings are not the only attractions of the Temple of Heaven. Even the yard surrounding is also really beautiful. There are more than 60,000 plants grown in the temple's environment. The most famous one is the Nine-Dragon Cypress tree that has been grown for more than 500 years. The tree has branches just like the nine dragons. Meanwhile, there is also a yard of colorful flowers that looks so stunning. The people living around this site enjoy so many activities here like jogging, singing, dancing, playing chess, and more. It is possible for you to join them in doing all of those activities. It is so fun, isn't it?
How to Get Tickets?
The tickets can be found in the entrance of the attraction site. It is possible also to find them via the travel and tour agencies. If you pre-order them via those agencies online, if you are lucky, there are commonly some sales. Meanwhile, the ticket costs CNY 10 from November to March and CNY 15 from April to October.
How To Get Around?
Although this area is quite large, most of it is an open yard. So, you should not worry about being lost. Just start the tour from anywhere you want. It depends on where you enter actually. If you choose the main gate, it means you can go to the main temple first. Meanwhile, if you enter through the southern gate, you may first go to the circular altar.
What Should I Wear?
The casual outfit like T-shirt, pants, and sneakers or flat shoes are the best. Make sure you always feel comfortable when walking around.
Best Time to Visit
The temple is opened from 06:00 am to 22:00 pm. Then the environment around is opened at 8:00. So, starting the trip at 8 o'clock in the morning is the best choice. Besides, you can go to this place around November – March to avoid the crowds as well as to get the cheaper tickets.
Will I Need a Guide?
Sure, it is mainly if you want to learn more about the temple's history. You should not worry, it is not difficult to find and hire the tour guides around.
How To Get There?
There are some public transportations that are directed at this attraction; the subway and bus. If you take the subway, choose the line 5 and stop in Tiantan Dongmen Station. On the other hand, by bus, the buses are number 6, 34, 35, 39, 60, and 116 and you can stop it in the same station but right on the eastern gate.