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Tanzhe Temple
Travel in Beijing

Tanzhe Temple

The Tanzhe Temple (tán zhè sì 潭柘寺) is a Buddhist temple situated in the Western Hills (xī shān 西山), a mountainous area in western Beijing. It is one of the most well-known temples in Beijing. "First there was Tanzhe, then there was Beijing", proclaims a sign at Tanzhe temple located 45 kilometres west of the centre of Beijing. At one time, it was one of the most important temples in the nation. The temple is located at China National Highway 108 in the Mentougou (mén tóu gōu 门头沟) District of Beijing.

altBuilt in the Jin Dynasty (jīn dài 金代) (265–420), it has an age of around 1,600 years. The area of the entire temple is 100 mu (mǔ 亩) (6.8 hectares), and its arrangement of halls is akin to that found in the Ming and Qing dynasties. Tanzhe Temple is one of the oldest temples in Beijing.

The most of the existing buildings in the temple are from the Ming and Qing dynasties, and there are pagodas (bǎo tǎ 宝塔) from various historical periods such as the Jin, Yuan, Ming and Qing dynasties. The two "Emperor trees" by the Hall of Three Sages were planted during the Liao Dynasty about 1,000 years ago.

The spacious and imposing buildings are arranged in three main northsouth axes. Along the central axis are the Archway, the Front Gate, Deveraja Hall, Mahavira Hall and Vairochana Pavilion.

The temple's central hall is its Mahavira Hall. 24 metres in length, 33 metres wide. Buddhist monks regularly perform religious ceremony here.

The temple is divided between the Hall of Abstinence, the Ordination Altar and the Hall to altGuanyin. The latter has received fame because of its association with princess Miaoyan, daughter of Kublai Khan. The princess is said to have entered the nunnery here in the 13th century. The indentations can be found on the stone on which she always knelt and prayed within the hall. Supposedly she was also buried within the temple compound.

To the right of the main courtyard lies a separate yard containing stone monuments built in different styles over a period of several centuries and housing the remains of eminent monks.


      (Click above picture to view the map)

Admission Fee: 35 yuan
Opening Hours: 8:00am -- 5:30pm (summer); 8:30am -- 4:30pm (winter)
Telephone number: 010-60862505
How to get there:
Take line no. 1 (red line) to Pingguoyuan (píng guǒ yuán 苹果园) subway stop, which is the line's western end. At When you reach the stop, take Exit D, turn right and continue straight to the bus station. Take the plain red and beige bus no. 931 (Y3) rather than the red and yellow no. 931 branch line version of the bus. On weekdays, the buses run from 7am to 5:30pm about every half hour. The journey lasts about one hour.

On weekends between April 15 to October 15, the no.7 tourist bus runs from the north east corner of Qianmen (qián mén 前门) (Saturday and Sunday, from 7am to 8:30am; costs about 50 yuan and includes a stop at the Shihua Caves and the nearby Jietai temple (jiè tái sì 戒台寺).

An alternative would be to take a taxi outside the metro stop and arrange round-trip transport. Make sure the driver understands that he needs to wait for you at Tanzhesi and bring you back to the metro stop. Agree on the price beforehand and pay all or part of the price on your way back. A reasonable price would be between 100 yuan if you just want to Tanzhesi and 300 yuan if you also want to visit Jietai temple, but there's always room to bargain!

Tags: Travel in Shanghai     Travel in Beijing