Saturday, March 01, 2008

Ma and Pa Larsen Visit China: Part 5- Temple of Heaven

A few days before saying goodbyes, we returned to the Beijing Jinglun Hotel where we ate at Pizza Hut a couple more times (on the main level), and then hit some more tourist sites.

The Temple of Heaven

This enormous park has significant cultural and historical importance. As the Temple of Heaven, it was the connecting place between the heavens and the earth. It is where the emperor kept the cosmos in line by offering sacrifices; if he didn't, the heavens withheld their protection and the people suffered. This is one of the few historical buildings that has circular architecture because they believed the heavens were circular (the earth was a square). Because they believed this site determined the success of China as a whole, you can imagine their utmost reverence towards this sacred site. It was here that the emperor not only protected his own well-being, but over all those within his wide sphere of influence inside of China and abroad.

The park itself was fun; in fact, we got caught up along the way among the locals in the beautifully decorated corridors who: ballroom danced, played cards, practiced traditional musical instruments (check out the old man shreddin' his electric erhu), played the Asian version of hacky sack, and expressed themselves by jumping around like gleeful kangaroos--free from all social pressure to stop jumping.


We loved mixing with the free spirits in the park so much that we didn't make it to the temple entrance until it was too late! They had the nerve to close the doors to the temple a half hour before. I tried my luck with the guards who weren't unmerciful, but surprisingly kind enough to let us in to snap some quick photos, and we didn't need to pay the entrance charge!


Ie Li said...

I love Beijing. My favorite free spirits are the old men flying kites.