Tanzhe Temple in Beijing

Why is Tanzhe Temple so special?

Tanzhe Temple has a history of more than 1700 years and is the oldest ancient temple in Beijing. The tall mountain peaks blocked the cold current coming from the northwest, so the climate here is warm and humid. There are many ancient trees and pagodas in the temple. The environment is very beautiful.

History of Tanzhe Temple

Tanzhe Temple was founded in 316 and is the earliest temple built after Buddhism was introduced to Beijing. It was founded on a small scale and was renovated and expanded in the following dynasties. In 1950, the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Gardens and Forest took over Tanzhe Temple. After a little renovation, it was opened to tourists as a scenic spot and historic site. In June 2001, the State Council designated Tanzhe Temple as a national key cultural relic protection unit. On September 9, 2007, Tanzhe Temple held a grand 1700-year anniversary celebration.

Main Attractions in Tanzhe Temple

The ancient path 

Since the Jin Dynasty, emperors from every dynasty have come here to offer sacrifices to Buddha. Especially since the Ming Dynasty, Tanzhe Temple has become a fixed place for people to travel in spring in the capital. Tanzhe Temple is located in a remote mountain with inconvenient transportation. Therefore, the people and the government have funded the construction of roads. These ancient incense roads have been continuously renovated through the ages and have been used for hundreds or even thousands of years. For the external communication of Tanzhe Temple, the people have played a great role in offering incense and worshipping Buddha to Tanzhe Temple.

Lu tan ancient road

This ancient road is a main road leading to Tanzhe Temple. It was originally a dirt road between mountains, with poor pavement quality. During Qianlong’s reign, the government funded the widening and flattening of the original road and became the road to Tanzhe Temple.

Floating Cups Pavilion

Floating Cups Pavilion is situated in the temporary palace in the eastern section of Tanzhe Temple. This wooden framed pavilion is covered with green g lazed tiles and floored with white marble. The ten-centimeter (4 inches) wide winding trough was cut into the floor, like a coiling dragon. Water flows into the trough from the dragon’s mouth in east of the pavilion and out to the west.

Avalokitesvara Hall

Avalokitesvara Hall (Guanyin Hall) is located at the end of the west side in Tanzhe Temple. Avalokitesvara is worshiped in the hall and it is also the place where Princess Miaoyan of th e Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368) prayed to Bodhisatva after she became a nun. Princess Miaoyan came here every morning and night and as time passed by her footprints were left on the brick floor. In 1592 the Empress of Xiao Ding in the Ming Dynasty brought the bricks worn away by the princess’s footprints to the palace, but later the bricks were given back to it and became a treasure of the temple.

Architectural composition

The layout of it is arranged in an orderly fashion. Halls are mainly located along the central axis. Courtyards are situated in the east and various altars sit in the west. It houses a great number of historic relics and ancient trees along with many other tourist sights both inside and out mak ing it an unforgettable experience.

How to Get There

  • Take Subway Line 1 to Pingguoyuan Station, and then transfer to Bus 931 at the bus station in the west side and get off at the last stop Tanzhe Si (Tanzhe Temple).
  • Take bus 336 and get off at Pingguoyuan Subway Station, transfer to bus 931 and get off at Tanzhe Temple.