Five Things to Know About… Baita Temple

Baita Temple is a Tibetan Buddhist Temple near Beijing’s Financial District that dates from the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368). Read on for five key things to know about this ancient temple!

Its name isn’t actually Baita Temple

Baita (白塔 Bái tǎ) means ‘White Tower’ (referring to the white dagoba that dominates the temple) but its actual name is Miaoying Temple (妙应寺 Miào yīng sì meaning ‘Temple of Marvelous Response’). 

The dagoba was built first over 10 years 1279-1288

The current temple followed, although other temples had stood on this spot since the Liao Dynasty (916-1125).

The temple is a symbol of China-Nepal friendship

Why? Because the dagoba was built by a Nepali artist, Arniko, who came to Beijing via Tibet to serve in the court of Kublai Khan, founder of the Yuan Dynasty.

Copper statue of Arniko presented to the temple by the Nepal Arniko Society

The dagoba is the largest in China

It stands just over 50m high. The difference between a dagoba (aka stupa) and a pagoda is the shape. Dagobas are rounder and squatter, and in China, Japan and Korea they developed into pagodas, which are tall, thin, multi-storied towers with four or eight corners. Both have the same function, which is storing Buddhist relics, typically the remains of venerated Buddhist monks and nuns (and originally relics of the Buddha himself). 

The dagoba had to be repaired in 1979 after the Tangshan Earthquake

Under the canopy of the dagoba were found chisels and trowels left by the workmen centuries before!

Have you visited Baita Temple? What did you think? Let us know in the comments below. We always love hearing your thoughts and insights! 

Photo Credits
– Cultural Keys

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