Temple of Azure Clouds (Biyun Temple) in Beijing

Why is Temple of Azure Clouds so special?

The temple faces east from west and is built on the mountain. The whole temple is decorated with courtyard as the main body, and the temple rises gradually according to the mountain trend, so as not to expose the overall layout. Among them, a pair of stone lions and two generals of hem and haw standing in front of the mountain gate, and muddy colored sculptures in the temple are the art treasures of the Ming dynasty.

History of Temple of Azure Clouds

The temple was built in 1333 and was extensively repaired during the Qing Dynasty. In 1925, after Dr. Sun Yat-sen died in Beijing, a coffin was placed in the temple’s rear hall, which was changed to Zhongshan Hall. In 1957, it was renovated several times and opened to the outside world. In 2001, it was approved by the State Council to be included in the list of the fifth batch of national key cultural relics protection units.

Main Attractions in Temple of Azure Clouds

Behind the Shanmeng Hall is the Maitreya Hall, which houses a 2.5m high Maitreya Buddha cast in Ming Dynasty. Behind Maitreya Hall is Sakyamuni Hall, also known as Danqing Pavilion, which is the main hall of the whole temple. The temple was built in the Ming Dynasty. The temple is dedicated to Buddha, Bodhisattva and Lohan in the Central Plains. It is a good Ming Dynasty product and was destroyed during the “Cultural Revolution”.

Behind the stele pavilion is the Bodhisattva Hall, which was originally dedicated to five clay colored statues of bodhisattvas of the Ming Dynasty. The statues are surrounded by hanging statues of Yunshan Mountain and small Buddhist story sculptures. The original statue was destroyed during the “Cultural Revolution” and the existing colored sculpture was later made up.

There is a red wooden plaque hanging above the front gate of the Sun Yat-sen Memorial Hall. The words on the plaque engraved in gold was written by Sun’s wife, Song Qingling. Inside this hall lies an empty crystal coffin presented by the USSR government in 1925 in memory of Sun Yat-sen. Since his body had already been buried elsewhere, the coffin was left here till now. Photos of Sun Yat-sen, his handwriting, his books and his statue are also on display inside this hall.

How to Get there

  • By Subway:
    Take Subway Line 4 and get off at Beigongmen Station. Get out from Exit A and transfer to bus 563 to Xiangshan Gongyuan Dongmen (east gate of the Fragrant Hills Park) Station. Visitors can also take bus 331 from Beihongmen Subway Station to Xiangshan (Fragrant Hills) Station.
  • By Bus:
    Take bus 563 to Xiangshan Gongyuan Dongmen Station.
    Take bus 318, 331, 360, 630, or 698 and get off at Xiangshan Station.

Nearby attractions

Xiangshan Park 

It is a royal garden with mountain forest characteristics. In the past, emperors used to go there to hunt and enjoy the cool in summer and autumn.

Greenhouse of Beijing Botanical Garden

It is currently the largest exhibition greenhouse in Asia and the largest single greenhouse in the world. It was built to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the founding of the People’s Republic of China.