Yonghe Lamasery is a Tibetan Buddhist temple in the heart of Beijing that was first built in 1694 as the residence of Prince Yong of the Qing dynasty. He lived here until 1723 when he became Emperor and moved to the Forbidden City. Tradition dictated that his former home could only be converted to a temple, which was renamed Yonghe temple after the Emperor's name Yong Zheng. As a former imperial residence, the green roof tiles in the compound were replaced with yellow ones.
The temple assumed an important role after the 1792 uprisings in Tibet, when Emperor Qianlong dictated that a gold vase be kept at Jokhang Temple in Lhasa and Yonghe Temple in Beijing to determine the true reincarnations of the Dalai Lama and the Mongolian Grand Living Buddha, respectively.
The temple architecture is a combination of Tibetan, Mongolian, and native Chinese. The chief artistic attraction is an 18-meter tall wooden Buddha carved from a single sandalwood tree imported from Tibet, the largest wooden statue on earth.
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