Shouhuang Temple

Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central

A counter-narrative to Beijing's poor record of heritage preservation is that once off-limits parts of the old capital are opening to the public all the time. Shouhuang Temple, built in 1749 under the reign of Emperor Qianlong to honour his royal ancestors, opened in 2018 after four years of restoration. Inside Jingshan Park on Beijing's central axis, it's a sublime slice of Qing-era imperial pomp well worth a side trip.

Seek out the pair of yellow-and-green glazed tile furnaces, used for burning silk and spirit tablets as offerings to deceased ancestors.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Forbidden City & Dongcheng Central attractions

1. Jingshan Park

0.19 MILES

Beijing's finest park is also one of the only hills in the inner city, a mound that was created from the loess (sediment) excavated to make the Forbidden…

2. Gate of Divine Prowess

0.34 MILES

The Forbidden City’s north gate, for exit-only. From here you can cross the road into Jingshan Park. During imperial times, the gate was used by servants…

3. Shunzhen Gate

0.37 MILES

Small gate leading to the Gate of Divine Prowess, which serves as the Forbidden City's north exit.

4. Hall of Imperial Peace

0.38 MILES

This attractive double-eaved hall is the only Taoist temple located on the central axis of Beijing.

5. White Dagoba

0.41 MILES

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…

6. Imperial Garden

0.41 MILES

At the northern end of the Forbidden City is the Imperial Garden, where emperors and their consorts could retreat to read, relax, sip tea and stroll among…

7. Well of Concubine Zhen

0.41 MILES

In the northern boundary of the Treasure Garden is the site where Zhen (the Pearl Concubine), favourite consort of Emperor Guangxu, was said to have been…

8. Yong'an Temple

0.42 MILES

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…