Fǎyuán Temple

Buddhist Temple in Dashilar & Xicheng South

Image by DEA / ARCHIVIO J. LANGE Getty

Infused with an air of reverence and devotion, this lovely temple dates back to the 7th century. The temple follows the typical Buddhist layout, with drum and bell towers. Do hunt out the unusual copper-cast Buddha, seated atop four further Buddhas ensconced on a huge bulb of myriad effigies in the Pilu Hall (the fourth hall).

Within the Guanyin Hall is a Ming dynasty Thousand Hand and Thousand Eye Guanyin, while a huge supine Buddha reclines in the rear hall. Originally built to honour Tang dynasty soldiers who had fallen during combat against the northern tribes, Fǎyuán is still a working temple, as well as home to the China Buddhism College, and you'll see plenty of monks about. To find it from the entrance of Niujie Mosque, walk left 100m and then turn left into the first hútòng. Follow the hútòng for about 10 minutes and you’ll arrive at the temple.