What does the name Temple of Heaven conjure up to you? If you thought a park where old people hang out, you are absolutely correct. The apartments near the Temple of Heaven in Beijing, China are in high demand for sons and daughters to rent or buy for their older parents, since the park around the Temple of Heaven is such a great place to meet and hang out with your friends if you are over the age of 60.
Of course, there’s a bit more to it than that. There’s a temple there too – one where they used to worship and make sacrifices to heaven, if you can believe it.
The picture above shows you the iconic building of the Temple of Heaven, known as the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvests. Honestly, that name leaves pretty much nothing to the imagination. I think, maybe, they prayed for good harvests here.
There are, in fact, other buildings here too. I am not quite sure of the name of this one – I did try, even reading through the often-dry UNESCO World Heritage site inscription… but I got nothing. We can imagine it is named something suitably practical, and also that it was likely used for some part of worship, maybe slaughtering cows or something.
Another thing about the Temple of Heaven is that it’s heaven for photographers! Sorry, couldn’t resist that. But the point is, it’s a gorgeous space to shoot photos, with a lot of very interesting and brightly colored details to draw the eye. Of course, the fact that I went there on one of Beijing’s most beautiful days, with incredible blue skies and wispy clouds.
It’s also a pretty fantastic spot to have a photo shoot; many recently married couples seemed to agree. I started off by having Jeff jump, which he seems to be pretty good at.
In fact, Jeff seems to enjoy jumping quite a lot. After this photoshoot we decided to do it in a few other places too because it is rather fun.
Jeff is also really good at squatting; like so good that I think he was secretly raised in Asia. I am not any good at squatting, which is why squat toilets cause me pain and agony, but Jeff likes them just fine.
We spent a while just walking around the grounds and admiring the various buildings and trees and cool details. Despite the fact that it’s a popular tourist attraction, the Temple of Heaven is such a vast place that you can easily find some more secluded and quiet corners (and on a weekday mid-morning it was not very crowded).
It’s a very beautiful place especially if you can go on a clear day. I didn’t learn much from a historical or cultural perspective here in terms of the temple itself, though there was plenty of interesting culture in the modern day use of the grounds. I would not consider it a “must-see” in Beijing but if you have the time and inclination, it is only 15 RMB to get into the park or 35 RMB to get into all the parts with historical buildings. Open daily until 10 PM although you can’t get into the historic areas after 4 PM.
Which picture is your favorite?