Since the ancient times splendid architectures with perfect geometric precision have been built with the purpose of establishing connect between the heaven and the earth. One of these architectures served the purpose of worship and, for this reason, are held to be sacred. Temple of Heaven in Beijing, a key attraction in many China tour packages, is one of these places where Chinese emperors used to worship in order to please the God for getting a good harvest. Visiting this scared place is considered to be a vital component of China tours.
During guided China tours get to know about the history of the Temple of Heaven. It was constructed by Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty from 1406 to 1420 AD within the confines of the royal garden. He also built several temples dedicated to sun, earth and moon in east, north and west, respectively. In those times, a poor harvest was taken as a bad omen for the ruler and was considered to be an expression of distrust in his rule by the gods. Hence, bad crops led to instability of his regime. For this reason, emperors used to worship at least once a year at the time of winter solstice.
Design and Architecture
It is believed that the design and architecture of this temple was based on the law of Universe so as to reflect affinity and relation between earth and sky. The whole temple complex is divided into three different groups of construction, which are as follows:
a.The Hall of Prayer, where emperors used to pray for good harvest, is 36 meters in diameter and 38 meters tall and is built on three levels of marble stone base. Interestingly, it is totally made of wooden and no nails have been used.
b.The Imperial Vault of Heaven, which lies to the south of Hall of Prayer is connected to it by 360 meters long Vermillion Step Bridge. It is built on single-marble stone base and is surrounded by a small circular wall that echoed sounds of prayer.
c.The Circular Mound Altar, which lies to the south of the Imperial Vault, is an empty circular platform built on three levels of marble stone.
Numerology in Design
An interesting aspect of the temple that would draw your attention during China tours is importance of numbers. In design of Altar, there are rings of nine plates surrounding a single marmor plate. Thereafter, a ring of 9×2 plates and so on till 9×9 plates were present on outermost diameter. Similarly, the Hall of Prayer had 4 inner, 12 middle and 12 outer pillars, which represented Chinese seasons, months and hours, respectively.