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Monday, August 29, 2011

EXTRA: A Walk in Chengde, Hebei

The Mountain Gate (山门) at Shuxiang Temple (殊像寺), Chengde, Hebei (河北, 承德市). The temple is
closed to the public, but it's part of a pleasant stroll among the outer temples (外八庙) of Chengde.
The day after visiting Puning Temple, I took an easy walk past some of Chengde's outer temples.

Taking a cab to the westernmost point of my route, I learned that the supposed location of the ruins of the Luohan Hall displayed nothing but a few suspiciously modern-looking stone retaining walls. But I did have a nice view of the "mountain villa" across the road, located on the back side of the Qing emperors' summer resort.

Walking east, I passed a series of beautiful, evocative sights.

First was Shuxiang Temple. Closed to the public so the monks can practice more diligently, it has ancient trees guarding the approach, with antique stone lions in cages on either side.

Through fields of corn and sunflowers, past a man with caged birds, I reached the entry to Putuozongcheng, the largest temple in Chengde, built for Emperor Qianlong's 60th birthday and resembling the Potala Palace in Tibet. Without time, energy, or cash enough to enter, I settled for the spectacular view from the road.

Next was the smaller--but still large--Xumifushou Temple, built to accommodate the Sixth Panchen Lama in 1781. Looking like a temple in Shigatse, Tibet, it is named for mythical Mount Sumeru, representing the World Axis in Buddhism. A gorgeous old stone bridge stands out front, built with five arches in 1780.

Finally, by bus I circled the walls the Imperial Summer Villa, over which I saw the pagoda which is all that remains of Yongyou Temple.

Back to my temple/hotel, I grabbed my bags, and left for the bus station for my trip to Shijiazhuang.

(An edited version of this article was published in the Shenzhen Daily July 7, 2013.)

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GALLERY

Caged stone lions stand in front of the closed Shuxiang Temple, Chengde
Putuozongcheng Temple in Chengde is modeled on the Potala Palace in Lhasa, Tobet
An ancient stone bridge stands in front of Xumifushou Temple, Chengde
This pagoda is all that remains of Yongyou Temple
inside the Imperial Summer Villa, Chengde
BONUS IMAGES: Most of the pictures above rendered as vintage postcards.

The "Palace" (宫) at Putuozongcheng Temple (普陀宗乘之庙), Chengde, Hebei (河北,
承德市),  emulates the Potala Palace (布达拉宫) in Lhasa, Tibet (西藏, 拉萨).
The ancient five-arched bridge at Xumifushou Temple (须弥福寿之庙), Chengde, Hebei
(河北, 承德市), was built in 1780 during the reign of Emperor Qianlong (乾隆).
This pagoda (塔) is all that remains of Yongyou Temple
(永佑寺), Chengde, Hebei (河北, 承德市). It once stood on
the grounds of the Qing emperors' summer retreat (避暑).

There are 16 pictures related to this walk (some of them identical to these, but with different captions) in a FaceBook album starting here (available to all, even without a FaceBook account).

Click here to visit the next article in chronological order || Click here to view the trip details

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