Chengde
Chengde.jpg - 20754 Bytes Located in Hebei province and 250 miles from Beijing, Chengde is a historic mountain resort developed for the Qing royal family.

Chengde is one of the 24 historical cities protected by the State Council and is an UNESCO Heritage site.

The Imperial Summer Resort in Chengde covers an area of 5.6 million square meters, which is larger than the Summer Palace in Beijing.
Chengde City Ratings
** The following ratings are based on a scale of 1-10, 10 being the best.
History(7) Art(7) Local Culture/UniqueTour(5)
Nature/Scenic(7) Food/Shopping(3) Night Life(3)
Religion(5) Adventure/Sports(6) Reasonable Cost(7) 
Recommended Days of Stay: 1

Quick Facts
Population - 130,000;
When to go
Tourist Season - May through October;
Coldest Months - January and February, with temperature as low as -19C;
Hottest Months - July and August, with temperature as high as 39C;
Getting In and Out
By Train - Chengde can be reached from Beijing by express train in 5 hours;

History


Chengde, previously known to Chinese as Rehe (Warm River) and to Western visitors as Jehol, Chengde is a small town developed very early in the Qing Dynasty as a small royal lodge to relax in and to curry favor with the Mongolian nobles in the area. Chengde was later developed into the great "Summer Mountain Retreat" in a vast walled enclosure surrounded by eight 'outer temples'.

Chengde had been the chosen summer vacation spot for Qing emperors ever since it was constructed by Kangxi Emperor in 1703.


The Main Palace and Garden * * * * *
The Imperial Summer Resort has nine courtyards.

The Nanmu Hall is the place where the emperor received subjects and envoys. There are two waiting rooms, one for foreigners and one for relatives and tribal leaders. Among the exhibits are an elephant dotted with pearls and brilliant blue kingfisher feather ornaments.

The Refreshing-at-Mist-Veiled-Waters Pavilion was the imperial bedroom. The empresses' pavilions are on either side.

The beautiful Garden is ideal for taking strolls. All the trees planted in Qing Dynasty are carefully tagged with identification numbers. The Imperial Summer Resort is a microcosm of entire China's lake, grasslands and mountains.

Religion
The Eight Outer Temples* * * * *
The Eight Outer Temples are a mixture of Manchu, Mongolian, Tibetan, and Han Chinese architecture and religions. The steles in front of the temples have Manchu writing in front, Chinese in back and Mongolian and Tibetan on the sides.

The Round Pavilion was built in 1766 to mimic the Temple of Heaven. There is a rare statue of two copulating gods from the tantric sect of Tibetan Buddhism.

Patterned after the Sumeru temple in Tibet, the Puning Temple contains a copy of the spectacular 1,000-headed and 1,000-armed GuanYin. Other artifacts of significance are about 100 larger-than-life-size arhats and a big bronze cooking pot that used to feed 1,000 lamas. There are also red-robed lamas chanting every morning in the Puning Temple. Out of Tibet, this is probably as original as it gets.

Xumifushou (Longevity and Happiness) Temple was inspired by the Tashilhunpo/Zhaxilhunbu Temple in Shigatse, Tibet. The sixth Panchen Lama used to live here and Qian Long Emperor celebrated his 70th birthday here.

Putuozongcheng Temple is patterned after the Potala Palace. The elephant in front of the temple symbolizes the Mahayana sect. The five pagodas on several buildings symbolize the five school of Buddhism.

Donggang Zi Dian (East Hall) contains statues from the Red Hat sect of Tibetan Buddhism. This particular sect's religious ritual includes having sex with a person other than one's spouse. The temple was built to celebrate birthdays as well as visits by tribal leaders.

 
 
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