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Sunday, 31 August 2014

The Nine Dragon Screen, The Forbidden City.


This is a very quick blog, just the photos of the amazing dragons in the Nine Dragon Screen, in the Forbidden City. The first one reminds me a little bit of me……..lol

The dragons from left to right, aren’t they amazing?










Monday, 25 August 2014

The Forbidden City revisited


This is one of three blogs about the Forbidden City. Followers of my blog will remember my first visit to the Forbidden City way back in 2011. Check out my blog of June 2011 if you want to refresh your memory Smile 





I have the same photo taken last time I was here on the bridge, but believe me it is just one of those places that just begs to have its photo taken again!!



I had said to Alice that I wouldn’t mind going back to the Forbidden City if we had the time, as it happened Alice also wanted to go back. We both wanted to see different things in the city, and I felt that last time I was there we had just scraped the surface of this beautiful place.





We intended setting off early, but that did not happen, but at least it had cooled off a bit for our visit, it was only 29 degrees that day! We asked the taxi driver to take us to the Forbidden City, but he dropped us at we thought was the North Gate into the City. We were outside the walls of the city with the moat surrounding the city. Neither of us had seen the moat so it was nice to see. We could see that if we walked alongside the wall we would eventually get to the South Gate (opposite Tiananmen Square) which is the only entrance to the City, so we meandered slowly along by the City Wall. We had not gone very far and were expecting a long walk to the gate, when we came upon an entrance to the City. We had, in fact, been dropped by the West Gate, so entered the entrance courtyard by this gate which took us to the ticket offices bypassing the Tiananmen Square gate.




I think it is fair to say that The Forbidden City simply takes your breath away with its beauty, it size, and the feeling of history that can be found there. Being July there were a lot more visitors than the last time I was there, and sadly for Alice the main buildings were not open, so she still has not seen inside the Halls that I saw on my last visit! Our main aim this visit was the Nine Dragon Wall which I wanted to see, and the Gallery of Clocks and Watches that Alice wanted to see so we headed to the lesser buildings in the East of the City. I am unable to name any of the buildings I took photos of, so hope you will forgive me for that, and just enjoy the photos as they are. We still have not seen all of the City, maybe if I go back to Beijing again one day, we will see even more of this fantastic place. Hopefully there won’t be quite so many people next time Smile






There will be separate blogs on the Nine Dragon Wall and the Clock Gallery in following blogs, but for now I hope you will enjoy the re-visit to the wonderful Forbidden City.





Monday, 18 August 2014

The Lama Temple

The beautiful Archway leading to the Imperial way.

After our relaxing lunch in the Hutong, we retraced our steps to the main road and entered the lovely Lama Temple.

Entering the Temple.

Worshippers preparing to pray.

Alice outside the East Tablet Pavilion.

The Yonghe Lamasery, commonly know as the Lama Temple or the Palace of Peace and Harmony is a working Buddhist monastery. It was built in 1694 and is one of the largest Tibetan Monasteries in the world. It is set in 16 acres of parkland and the Temple is approached by The Imperial Way, a tree lined walk, which was lovely and cool.

The Bell Tower in the first courtyard.

One of a pair of fantastic lions.

As it is a working monastery there were a lot of people praying as well as large numbers of tourists. Worshippers are given or buy bunches of incense sticks, which they take to whichever Hall holds the Buddha they would like to pray to. Prayers are said outside the building and again inside and the worshippers leave a number of the incense sticks in front of the altars for the monks to light. As is is a working monastery photos inside the buildings were not allowed, although if you Google the Lama Temple there are plenty of photos to be found of the interiors.

One of a pair of lions flanked by turtles, the other matching statue was under renovation.

There are five courtyards in all, with central and side halls, most of them containing one or more Buddha statues. The whole site is beautifully looked after and very ornate, but that was just how it should be to me. Although there were a lot of tourists, the overall feeling was of peace and calm, with large courtyards, and shady cypress trees.

Courtyards filled with the smell of incense.

The old with the new in the background.

This is a beautiful place to visit, serene and scented with incense throughout the whole site. The buildings are as beautiful as any I have seen in China, the 18 metre high statue of Maitreya, reputedly carved from a single piece of sandalwood, which is situated in the Wanfuge Pavilion is quite simply a jaw dropping sight! When I saw it I just said WOW. The building must have been built around this statue, it is just an amazing sight.

Wangfuge Pavilion, home of the Meitraya Buddha statue.

As you can see the whole site is beautiful, I especially like the roofs of the buildings, they make for amazing photos. Also you might have noticed the beautiful blue sky when we arrived, sadly it soon changed the uniform grey that is usual in Beijing. It was still extremely hot but we walked a little bit and sat a little bit just soaking up the atmosphere Smile

One of the animals has lost his head Sad smile

Gold, green and grey roof animals Smile

Here be dragons!

A young lady preparing to enter one of the halls to pray to the Buddha.

Beautiful courtyards

And finally for those of you that remember the dragon rubbish bin from my last visit, here is another gorgeous way to dispose of your rubbish!!

Aren’t they lovely?

We had had a very busy day but it was not over just yet. After leaving the temple we went to another, very busy and popular Hutong which was full of shops, gift shops, shoe shops and food shops. I had to buy a beautiful pair of embroidered shoes, as my feet by now were very sore and my shoes were rubbing! We sat on a wall in the Hutong, drinking an ice cold bubble tea (yummy!) and watching the world go by. We ended the day by going to a beautiful restaurant which served Yunnan food. A lovely day Open-mouthed smile

People watching in the Hutong.

In the Restaurant.