Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Nov 2, 2010


May 27

After breakfast, this morning we went to visit the Temple of Heaven, another UNESCO World Heritage site in Beijing.

Built in 1420, the temple was completely destroyed by fire in 1889. It was immediately rebuilt without nails, using original methods, with timber imported from Oregon, USA!

The temple was used for royal sacrifices and prayers for good harvests. Its main structure is a blue-roofed wooden tower, which is round in shape, consistent with the ancient Chinese belief that the heaven was round (and earth square)!

Based on the Chinese calendar, it is supported by 28 pillars - 4 center pillars representing the seasons, next 12 pillars representing months, and 12 outer pillars representing parts of the day.

Walking down a marble staircase with auspicious images of dragons, phoenixes, and clouds, one reaches

dragons, phoenixes, and clouds, one reaches

the Imperial Hall of Heaven, with a square roof.

This hall housed the tablet of the god of heaven and the tablets of the ancestors of the emperor. The emperor performed the prescribed rituals here, before the tablets could be moved to the main structure for the main ceremony, the next day.

The site is larger than the Forbidden City. Its covered corridors, lawns and walkways

attract a large number of people every day, who come there to do tai chi,

practice dancing,

entertain audiences with music,

play all sorts games,

visit with friends,

or do gringo-watching!

It appears to be a daily -long carnival. Admission to seniors is free.



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