Skip to content
Site Tools
Increase font size Decrease font size Default font size default color blue color green color
Home Travel in Beijing Jie Tai Temple
Jie Tai Temple
Travel in Beijing

 Jie Tai Temple

Jie Tai Temple (Jiè tái sì 戒台寺) is one of the famous tourist attractions in Beijing. Jie Tai Temple takes pride as the largest Buddhist altar in all of China. It has long been a reason of the huge crowd of people that flocks in Beijing as tourists from all over China and other countries. JieTai Temple is located 35km west of Beijing and is only 10km from Tanzhe Temple (tán zhè sì 潭柘寺). JieTaiSi, takes its name from its famous Ming marble ordination altar, built some 1,300 years ago. This altar is nearly 5 meters high and is decorated with exquisite carvings. The temple was first built in the year 622 during the Tang dynasty (táng cháo 唐朝) but most of the buildings here now date from the Qing dynasty (qīng cháo 清朝) (1644 - 1911). The temple sits on a hillside looking more like a fortress than a temple, surrounded by forbiddingly tall red walls. On a clear day, this temple offers an unhindered view of Beijing.

altThere are about 18 statues of arhats (ā luó hàn 阿罗汉) in the Jie Tai Temple that look more like having life with accurate facial expressions. The temple has ten old pine branches that point towards the heaven. It is said that under these branches, writers, poets, and emperors have engraved their writings.

Jietai Temple consists of the southern and northern parts of buildings, each having its central axis. The main hall buildings face eastward. In detail, along the southern central axis are the Entrance Gate, Hall of Heavenly King, Hall of Great Heroes, Thousand-Buddha Pavilion, and Hall of Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva; the main building along the northern central axis is the Ordination Altar Yard, where the Entrance Gate, Hall of Ordination Altar, Hall of Great Compassion and Hall of 500 Arhats are built.

Jie tai siSurrounding the main hall are a number of courtyards containing rock formations and ancient twisted pine and cypress trees. It is renowned for its venerable pines - eccentric looking trees growing in odd directions. Indeed, one, leaning out at an angle of about thirty degrees, is pushing over a pagoda on the terrace beneath it.

In addition to the main buildings, there are some special buildings such as tomb tower and stone pillars with Buddhism inscriptions, which, high or low, hide themselves among the towering ancient trees. The most famous ancient trees in the temple include Lying Dragon Pine Tree, isvara Pine Tree, Mobile Pine Tree, 9-Dragon Pine Tree and Tower-Embracing Pine Tree.


The enormous white marble ordination platform is China's largest and intricately carved with figures - monks, monsters (beaked and winged) and saints. Dating from the Liao Dynasty, it is a three-tiered structure with 113 statues of the God of Ordination placed in niches around the base. It is located in Jie Tan Dian (Hall of the Altar of Ordination) in the far right (north west) corner of the temple.

Ceremonies conducted on this platform to commemorate the ascension of a devotee to full monkhood required permission from the emperor. Often referred to as the "Beida (Peking University, nominally the best university in China) of Buddhism" for its ability to attract the most promising monastic scholars (along with temples in QuanZhou and HangZhou), it has been the most significant site for the ordination of Buddhist monks for 900 years. Another smaller hall holds a beautiful wooden altar, decorated with dragons in relief. There are also fragrant peony gardens.


                                                    (Click to Enlarge)

Admission Fee: 35 Yuan
Address: Ma An Shan (mǎ ān shān 马鞍山), Men Tou Gou District (mén tóu gōu qǖ 门头沟区)Opening Hours: 8:00—18:00 (Summer); 8:00—17:30 (Winter)
Public Transportation: You can take bus No. 921, 336, 959 to Ping Guo Yuan (píng guǒ yuán 苹果园) and transfer No. 931 and get off at Jie Tai Temple.