The Lama Temple was originally built in 1694 it became the official residence of Prince Yin Zhen and most of the complex was converted into a monastery in 1723 when he took the throne as Emperor Yongzheng. After his death the Lama Temple was granted imperial status, swapping its turquoise glazes tiles for regal yellow ones and became a lamasery for the ‘yellow hat’ Lama sect of Buddhism, housing monks from Tibet and Mongolia.
Peek behind the curtains of the third prayer hall, the Pavilion of Eternal Happiness, to see the Buddha getting it on in what was a sex education mural for the regal tenants; there’s more erotic sculpture in the fifth (Wanfu) pavilion – where the largest carving made from a single piece of wood stands. The street alongside the Lama Temple is full of shops selling incense, Buddhist trinkets and icons.
One of Beijing's top tourist spots