Little Western Heaven


This is the largest square pavilion-style palace in China. It was built in secret as a gift for Emperor Qianlong's mother on her 80th birthday. Inside the cavernous hall is an enormous and rather garish diorama of Mt Sumeru with Bodhisattva seated at its peak and hundreds of arhats (disciples) arranged on rocky outcrops.

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Nearby Beijing attractions

1. Five Dragon Pavilions

0.07 MILES

Built in the Ming Dynasty as a fishing spot for emperors, the five ornate pavilions over the water are joined by a corridor said to resemble a swimming…

2. Nine Dragon Screen

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To the west of Western Elysium, set back from the lakeshore, is this 5m-high, 27m-long spirit wall emblazoned with writing and coiled dragons, picked out…

3. Western Elysium

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Located on Beihai's northern shore, Xitian Fanjing (Western Elysium) was a lamasery during the Ming dynasty, and was subsequently rebuilt in 1759 by…

4. Beihai Park

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Beihai Park, inside the old Imperial City, looks much as it would have done in the 18th century when it served as Emperor Qianlong's private gardens. The…

5. Jingxin Studio

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Built in 1757, 'Studio of the Quiet Heart' was a favourite retreat of Emperor Qianlong, who would sip tea, listen to the melodic plucking of the guqin …

6. White Dagoba

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Topping Jade Islet (琼岛; Qióngdǎo), the 36m-high Tibetan-style White Dagoba was built in 1651 by the first Qing emperor to honour a visit by the Dalai Lama…

7. Yong'an Temple

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Rising up the steep southern slope of Jade Islet, the Temple of Eternal Peace is best accessed via the south entrance of Beihai. The complex climbs…

8. Prince Gong’s Mansion

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The sprawling residence of Prince Gong (1833–1898), half-brother of the Xianfeng emperor, is most notable for its marvellous gardens, which feature…