Chengde, China and the Puning Temple
a fine Buddhist temple from the Qing Dynasty
The Puning Temple, located in Chengde, Hebei Province, China, is another fine example of a Buddhist temple constructed during the Qing Dynasty. Also known as the Temple of Universal Peace or the Big Buddha Temple, the complex was built in 1755 during Emperor Qianlong's (1735-1796) long period of power in China. The Puning Temple is one of the famed Eight Outer Temples located near the Imperial Summer Resort that was used as a summer mountain retreat for Qing Dynasty emperors, located next to the Putuo Zongcheng Temple. Just as that temple was modeled on a famous temple in Tibet (the Potala Palace), the Puning Temple was built on the design of the Samye Monastery, a sacred Lamaist site in Tibet.
One of the highlights of the temple is the 22 meter (73 feet) tall, wood-carved statue of the Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara, which is one of the tallest wooden statues in the world and supposedly is the tallest in China. It reportedly has a thousand eyes and a thousand arms. It was constructed of the wood of several different types of trees including pine, cypress, elm and others.
The entire complex is huge, covering an area of 23,000 square meters, As part of the Eight Outer Temples, along with the Imperial Summer Resort the Puning Temple was selected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1994. It can be seen as part of a Beijing tour due to its location in Chengde, a city just a couple of hours northeast of Beijing, or as part of a Great Wall tour to see sections of the Great Wall of China that are located nearby.