Miaoying Temple (Baita Si, or White Dagoba Temple) features a famous white dagoba, or stupa, that towers 167 feet (51 meters) over the neighboring hutongs in Beijing’s Xicheng District. Although the present temple was built in the Ming Dynasty, the stupa itself dates from the late 1200s and is the oldest and tallest such structure in China.
Miaoying Temple is comprised of the white dagoba and four halls featuring a diverse and expansive collection of Buddhist statues, scriptures, and other valuable relics such as crowns and fabrics. Don’t miss the Dagoba Longevity Statue, with over 40 rubies, or the Kwan-yin Bodhisattva Statue, with 1,000 hands and eyes. Be sure to look up at the ornate and detailed roofs, with their colorful patterns and exquisite carvings.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Miaoying Temple is ideal for those interested in Buddhism, history, or architecture.
- This is an active place of worship, so visitors should be respectful of worshippers.
- The temple grounds are fairly small, so an hour should be sufficient for a visit.
How to Get There
Miaoying Temple is located in Beijing’s Xicheng District. Take the subway Line 2 to Fuchengmen Station (Exit B) and walk east, or take Line 4 to Xisi Station (Exit A) and walk west. Or take bus No. 3, 7, 101, 409, or 612 and get off at Baitasi (White Dagoba Temple) Station.
When to Get There
The temple is open daily to visitors, though periodic renovations sometimes close the entire complex; check the latest schedule prior to visiting. On Wednesdays, the first 200 visitors are admitted free of charge.
Threats to Miaoying Temple
The White Dagoba Temple was under threat during the Cultural Revolution in the 1960s and was saved only when Premier Zhou Enlai declared it an official National Treasure. In 1976, the temple was severely damaged during the Tangshan earthquake, which destroyed a number of relics and damaged the foundation of the stupa, causing it to tilt. The temple was renovated in 1978 and 2010, and has been worked on periodically since.