1)Subway Line 5: get off at Tiantan Dongmen Station, Leave from Exit A and you'll find the East Gate of the Park.
2)Take bus 6, 34, 35, 36, 39, 41, 43, 60, 116, 610, 707, 723, 743, 957, or 958 and get off at Tiantan Dongmen (East Gate) Station.
3)Take bus 36 , 53, 120, 122, 525, 610, 800, 803 or 958 and get off at Tiantan Nanmen (South Gate) Station.
4)Take bus 2, 7, 15, 17, 20, 69, 105, 707, 729, or 826 and get off at Tiantan Ximen (West Gate) Station.
5)Take bus 6, 34, 35, 36, 106, 110, 687, 707, or 743 and get off at Tiantan Beimen (North Gate) Station.
The temple of Heaven is one of the main Beijing tourist attractions,if you want a complete sightseeing in Beijing ,include it in your Beijing package tour.
The Temple of Heaven was where the emperor came every winter solstice to worship Heaven and to solemnly pray for a good harvest. Since his rule was legitimized by a perceived mandate from Heaven, a bad harvest could be interpreted as his fall from Heaven's favor and threaten the stability of his reign. So, it was not without a measure of self-interest that the emperor fervently prayed for a very good crop.
The Temple of Heaven Park is located in the Chongwen District, Beijing. Originally, this was the place where emperors of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) and Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) held the Heaven Worship Ceremony. It is China's largest and most representative existing masterpiece among China's ancient sacrificial buildings. First built in 1420, the 18th year of the reign of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644), it was enlarged and rebuilt during the reigns of the Ming emperor Jiajing and the Qing emperor Qianlong. In 1988, the Temple of Heaven was opened to the public as a park, showing ancient philosophy, history and religion. Its grand architectural style and profound cultural connotation give an insight into the practices of the ancient Eastern civilization.
The Temple is divided by two encircling walls into an inner part and outer part. The main buildings lie at the south and north ends of the middle axis of the inner part. The most magnificent buildings are the Circular Mound Altar (Huanqiutan), the Imperial Vault of Heaven (Huangqiongyu) and the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest (Qiniandian) from south to north.
1. Zhaoheng Gate (South Gate)->Circular Mound Altar->South Divine Kitchen->Echo Wall->Imperial Vault of Heaven ->Three Echo Stones->Danbi Bridge->East Annex Hall->Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests->West Annex Hall->Palace of Abstinence ->Divine Music Administration
2. North Gate-> Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests -> East Annex Hall-> West Annex Hall-> Danbi Bridge -> Echo Wall ->Imperial Vault of Heaven -> Three Echo Stones -> Danbi Bridge ->South Divine Kitchen -> Circular Mound Altar -> Lingxing Gates -> Palace of Abstinence -> Divine Music Administration
Located in the southern part of the Temple of Heaven, The Circular Altar Mound is actually the Temple of Heaven in the practical sense. During the Ming and Qing Dynasties, the emperors would offer sacrifice here to Heaven on the day of the Winter Solstice every year. Its famous buildings include the Lingxing Gates, the Lantern Viewing Pole, the Terrace of Worshipping Heaven, the Heaven Heart Stone, the Firewood Stove and the Divine Kitchen Courtyard.
Along the middle axis, from the Circular Mound Altar to the north, you will see the Imperial Vault of Heaven. It is the place housing the Gods' tablets to be used at the Heaven Worship Ceremony. It is famous for the Echo Wall, Three Echo Stones and the Dialogue Stone, which are all interesting attractions utilizing the theory of sound wave.
Also called the Vermilion Steps Bridge, the Danbi Bridge connects the northern part and the southern part. The south end of the Bridge is lower than its north end. The emperors believed that they could go to heaven by this Bridge, hence the name, Sacred Way. The Sacred way had three routes, the central one was the Imperial Route exclusively used by the Emperor and on one side was the Princes' Route. On the other side was the route for high officials.
Across the Danbi Bridge, you will come to the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. It is a big palace with round roof and three layers of eaves, where the emperor held the worship ceremonies to pray for good weather and abundant harvests. It is the earliest building of the Temple of Heaven. It is a complex consisting of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests and the Altar for Grain Prayers.
Located in the southwest of the Altar of Prayer for Good Harvests, the Palace of Abstinence is where the emperor fasted before the Heaven Worship Ceremony began. It has several distinctive buildings, such as the Beamless Hall, the Rest Palace, the Belfry, etc.
Located to the southwest of the Palace of Abstinence, the Divine Music Administration is one of the five major buildings in the Temple of Heaven. This was the location of the managing body for the ceremonial musical instruments as well as the place where the sacrificial ritual was devised and rehearsed. This was the most important ritual music academy of the Ming and Qing dynasties.
Established by Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty, the annual Worship of Heaven ceremony by the emperor took place here. The ceremony was subject to special regulations for its preparation, place, time, procedures, music and dance. This ceremonial practice confirmed the divine right of emperor and the religious belief of the ancient Chinese people.
Early morning is the best time to visit The Temple of Heaven. You will have an interesting experience watching local people doing morning exercises, like dancing, walking, practicing tai chi or playing games, as you walk to the temple.
Any standard package tour of Beijing should include a visit to The Temple of Heaven. Click here for our Classic China Tours which take in this inspirational temple.
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