Temple of Universal Happiness (Pule Si)

Admission:

RMB 30 during the peak season; RMB 20 in off-season.

Hours:

8:00 a.m. - 5:30 p.m.

How to get there:

The temple is in the east of Chengde, near the tramway that offers views of Sledgehammer Rock, Toad Rock and other niftily shaped rocks and peaks east of town.

 

To the east of the Imperial Summer Villa (Bishu Shanzhuang), and south of the Temple for Distant Security, the Temple of Universal Happiness (Pule Si), also known as the Round Pavilion, was built under orders from Qing Emperor Qianlong in 1766 to receive visiting dignitaries from tributary peoples, including the Mongols and the Tibetans. It's a curious and fascintaing mix of Han Chinese and Tibetan elements and features some rather racy images of the Buddha of Happiness and consorts getting Tantric-sexy.

The anterior section is Han in style, and contains the Hall of Heavenly Kings (Tianwang Dian), a Bell and Drum Tower (Zhonggu Lou) and the Hall of Ancestors (Zongyin Dian). The rear section features a distinctly Tibetan-style architecture, rich in intense colors and riveting Tantric figures. The main building here is the central, triple-tiered Xuguang Pavilion (Xuguang Ge), which is highly reminiscent of  Beijing's Temple of Heaven. Within the main pavilion is the temple's namesake, a copper statue of the Buddha of Happiness (Huanxi Fo), happily frozen in the midst of the sexual act.
 

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