Spent the morning at Beihai (Northern Sea) Park in northcentral Beijing. The park is centered around a made-made lake created by Khubilai Khan, grandson of Chingis Khan and founder of the Mongolian Yuan Dynasty. Near the middle of the lake is man-made Qiong Island also reportedly created by Khubilai. The island is surmounted by a high hill, and on the top of the hill is the 118-foot-high White Pagoda. The White Pagoda was built in 1651 to commemorate a visit to Beijing by the Fifth Dalai Lama. (The Yellow Temple, where Zanabazar, First Bogd Gegeen of Mongolia, died, was built as a residence for the Dalai Lama during his stay in Beijing.) The pagoda was damaged during earthquakes in 1679, 1730, and 1976. It has just recently been refurbished in anticipation of the 2008 Olympics.
The causeway to Qiong Island with the White Pagoda on the horizonAnother approach to the White Pagoda
The White Pagoda with the Shan Yin Dian to the left.
The Shan Yin Dian (Hall of Beneficient Causation) was built in 1751 by Emperor Qian Long. On the side of the hall are 455 glazed tiles each containing a small Buddha in relief.
Just below the pagoda is the Yong An temple complex. In one of the temples are statues of the Dalai Lama, Panchen Lama, and Tsongkhapa, founder of the Gelug sect of Tibetan Buddhism.