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Big Bell Temple

Beijing Big Bell Temple, Beijing Attractions, Beijing Travel GuideThe Big Bell Temple is situated in Beisanhuan Xilu (western section of the North 3rd Ring Road), approximately two kilometers east of Haidian Road. When the temple was first built in 1733 in the reign of Emperor YongZheng of the Qing Dynasty, it was called the Temple of Righteous Awakening. In 1743, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, a giant bell was transferred from the Temple of Longevity (Wanshousi) to this temple. From then on, it has commonly been referred to as the Big Bell Temple. The temple compound contains three rows of halls, one lined up behind the other. In the courtyard in front of the first big hall is an ancient cypress which has an elm branch grafted onto its trunk.

The famous bell hangs in the Bell Tower at the rear of the compound. The tower is 16.7 meters high, with a square base, a circular upper structure and windows on four sides. It is said that Yao Guangxiao cast the bronze bell during the Yongle period (1403-1424) of the Ming Dynasty. The bell is 6.87 meters high, 3.3 meters in diameter, 0.22 meter thick and weighs 46.5 tons. It is the largest bell in China and the second largest in the world. Originally it was one to the six to be hung at the six corners of the city walls to strike the hours, but now it is the only remaining one, known as the "Huayan Bell." The Bell is also known as the Avatamsaka Bell because it bears the full text of all 81 volumes of the Lotus Scripture (the Avatamsaka Sutra).

By climbing the spiral stairway to the top of the tower, the visitor will obtain a fine view of the surrounding countryside.

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