August 27, 2009

The Putuo Zongcheng Temple in  Chengde, Hebei provinc  is a Qing Dynasty era Buddhist temple complex built between 1767 and 1771, during the reign of theQianlong Emperor (1735-1796). It is located near the Chengde Mountain Resort, which is south of the Putuo Zongcheng. Along with the equally famed Puning Temple, it is one of the Eight Outer Temples of Chengde. The temple was modeled after the Potala Palace of Tibet, the old sanctuary of the Dalai Lama built a century earlier. Hence the Putuo Zongcheng has been nicknamed the “Little Potala Palace”. Since it was modeled after the Potala palace, the temple represents a fusion of Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The temple complex covers a surface area of some 220,000 square meters, making it one of the largest in China. Many of its halls and pavilions are adorned with copper and gold tiled roofs, adding to the splendor of the site.

The Putuo Zongcheng Temple was originally dedicated to Qianlong in order to commemorate his birthday, as well as provide Hebei with a temple of equal size and splendor as the Tibetan Potala Palace. The Putuo Zongcheng temple served more functions than just Buddhist ceremony and festival, however. It was also the location that the emperor would gather meetings of different ethnic envoys found throughout the empire. The location served as a peaceful getaway in contrast to the bustling life of the capital Beijing, as well as complimented the nearby hunting grounds that the emperor would enjoy with his hosts.



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