Hebei is less rich in terms of monetary wealth but just as opulent as her Beijing neighbor in terms of culture, history and magnificent temples dating from all periods of her imperial history. With a province as large as Hebei, where can you admire these beautiful buildings China is so famous for?
The front of the Manichaean Hall of Longxing Temple, in Zhengding, China (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Just outside of Shijiazhuang you will find the lovely Longxing Temple, more commonly known as Dafo Temple (Dafo Si) or the Big Buddha Temple. Out of so many monasteries in the area, Longxing Temple is by the most famous.
The temple originates from 586 CE but time had taken its toll. Fortunately, the temple has been restored to its former glory. In the first hall you are welcomed by a gorgeous statue of Mileof, who is lovingly called the ‘Monks with a Bag’ by the monks here. The four Heavenly Kings flank him on either side.
The Lingxiao Pagoda of Zhengding, Hebei Province, built in AD 1045 during the Song Dynasty (photo by Wikipedia)
If you go into the Manichaean Hall, you come across a gigantic gilded statue of Sakyamuni and a male version of the goddess Guanyin in a position known as the lalitasana. Then visit the Buddhist Altar and the Zhuanlunzang Pavilion and the Pavilion of Great Mercy. This is a truly beautiful and captivating place.
Guandi Temple Communist Youth League Street Jinan entrance (photo by Rolfmueller via Wikipedia)
Guandi Temple (Guandi Miao) is definitely a highlight to any trip to Chengde. Dedicated to the Daoist god of war, this magnificent temple was commissioned by the Manchu Emperor Yongzheng in 1752. You enter the temple complex by passing the two protective guardians on either side, the Green Dragon and the White Tiger, known respectively as the Blue Dragon and the White Lion.
Puning Temple entrance (photo courtesy of Wikipedia)
Enter the Shanmen Hall and then onto the Chongwen Hall to admire the beautiful frescoes of Confucius before heading off to the Shengmu Hall. Here you can be in awe of the truly beautiful state of the Princess of the Azure Clouds, the patron goddess of Tai Shan, a mountain range in Shangdong Province.
The rest of the temple is just as amazing as your dreams, especially when the temple houses a band of Daoist monks dressed in eye-catching clothes and hairstyles.
Menjiangnu Temple (photo courtesy of english.cntv.cn)
Shanhaiguan is famous for being the end of the Great Wall of China and has some nice temples. One particular to visit is Menjiangnu Temple (Menjiangnu Miao), although the one you see today is a reconstruction from the Song and Ming dynasties. You will see the beautiful sculptures of the famous Lady Meng and her maids, as well the calligraphy of a well-known Chinese story – “Looking for Husband Rock”.