Beihai Park – A Myth Brought to Life

Beijing’s Forbidden City is seen as the imposing complex of structures that was home to the royals of China for centuries. But hidden in the city, is the largest of the Chinese gardens behind the Imperial Palace. Creating harmony between water and earth, its oriental architecture is a testament of the craftsmanship of gardeners of the region.

As stories go, three magical mountains that held the key to immortality were sought by many emperors. These unattainable peaks were replicated by building three mounds surrounded by a pond in the gardens of the Qin and Han dynasties. Initiated during the Liao regime, the Taiye pool represented the seas around the mountains, depicted by the Qionghua, Circular City and Xishantai islands in the park. The 69 hectares of Beihai Park had been exclusive to the aristocracy until it was opened to the public in 1925.

The pavilions and studios that stand on these grounds reflect the grandeur of the Imperial Palace. Decorated with engravings and paintings of celestial bodies and mythical creatures, their roofs and columns are magnificent examples of Chinese art. The Five Dragon pavilion gives a wonderful view of the White Dagoba set against the greenery of Qionghua Islet, perfect for relaxing among the peaceful surroundings.

The beautiful Nine Dragon Wall, one of three such glazed brick creations in China, shows ornate dragons dancing on the clouds. Circular City Island holds the Chengguang hall with an exquisite white jade Buddha statue from Burma. The ornate interiors of the royal household can be seen inside the Jingxin studio, in its wooden carvings and painted screens. The lake that gives the backdrop for these creations burst into bloom with water lilies once a year, which is a favourite sight with visitors.

Beihai Park’s location in the middle of Beijing makes it an oasis from the bustling metropolis and the endless days of work. Many long stay visitors choose a serviced apartment in Beijing for accommodation. While more personal than a hotel, these Beijing serviced apartments have all the conveniences of one. Somerset ZhongGuanCun Beijing features facilities for business and leisure that will make your stay in China a truly memorable one.

Beihai Park – A Park that would take your breath away

Beihai Park in Beijing China is a majestic garden located towards the northwest of Forbidden City. This magnificent arena was initially built in the 10th century and fall within one of the largest gardens in China. Within this garden one could witness many historical landmarks like temples, palaces and significant structures. This garden was opened to the public from the year 1925 as a public park. Beihai Park is also connected to Shichahai from its South. The park spreads throughout an area of over 69 hectares along with a huge lake that covers almost half of the park.

When you reach the middle of the park you would come across an island known as Qionghua which has a peak of 32 m. the park houses a pool called Taiye from the North which is interconnected with another two pools given the names South Sea and Middle Sea. The Taiye pool in the park is also commonly known as the Beihai. Similar to other imperial gardens of China, the Beihai Park too has imitated its construction to elaborate scenic venues and architecture from various regions of China. They have taken the Taihu Lake, garden arrangements of Suzhou, sophisticated pavilions of Hangzhou and Yangzhou have inspired in constructing this outstanding garden. The breathtaking sceneries and structures are considered as master works of gardening which reflects the delicate techniques and styles used with extreme craftsmanship which boats the true opulence of customary Chinese garden art.

In the Qionghua island in the park stands a white pagoda known as the Bai Ta. This striking stupa takes a height of 40 m and is placed in the crest of the island. This colossal stupa is a structure of white stone with the moon, sun and flames engraved as decorations on its surface. After being massacred by an earthquake which happened in1679, the pagoda was rebuilt in the following year. If you’re a tourist planning to visit Beijing, a Beijing airport hotel would suit you well. If you wish to visit the Beihai Park, Langham Place Beijing Capital Airport would be convenient and it houses some of the finest hotel rooms in Beijing.

Umanga Kahandawaarachchi is a passionate travel writer who writes under the pen name, Maggie Tulliver. Her field of writing covers a wide array of content and articles related to travel and hospitality industry.


An Echo from the Past – Beihai Park

Beihai Park, an extensive imperial park said to be a thousand years old, located to the north west of the Forbidden City. Set in 69 ha with a large 39 ha lake covering half the park’s area, it boasts of several historically important palaces, temples, manmade hills and an island. The park’s origins hark back to the 10th century and five dynasties of Chinese royalty were engaged in adding to and improving the park. The park was used for conducting religious ceremonies, for amusement and relaxation by various emperors and their courts and as quiet spaces for scholars to produce literary works. The four main areas of the park are the Qionghua Island, the circular city and the eastern and the northern bank areas. 

Among the garden’s many remarkable features is Taiye, a large lake or North Sea as it is known and two smaller lakes named the middle and south sea, the manmade Qionghua Island with a highest point of 32 metres; the 45 metre Bai Ta or White Pagoda atop the island is rumoured to have Buddha’s relics enshrined there. The island is connected to the garden by the Yong’an Bridge. The five Ming Dynasty temples on the water’s edge known as the Five Dragon Pavilion is another famed attraction. This was the place that many emperors came to fish, watch fireworks and enjoy the moonlight. 

Other remarkable attractions include the 14th century coloured glazed brick nine dragon wall, the garden within a garden that is the Jing Xing Room, the Hall of Received Light with a 1.6 metre white jade statue of the Buddha presented by a Khmer king in the 12th century and the Yong’an Temple which is the largest building complex there. 

The garden is also the location of several pavilions, small shrines and Buddhist temples with ancient paintings and statues of Bodhisattvas venerated to this day. There are also many independent traditional Chinese gardens, collections of large jade jars said to have been used to store wine by Kublai Khan, who apparently lived in one of the palaces in the park in the 13th century, 495 steles with inscriptions, pine and cypress trees several hundred years old and Taihu rocks from the Henan Province. Beihai Park occupies an iconic position in garden design in China. Built to replicate several scenic spots and architectural masterpieces from various regions in the country, the gardens and its artfully placed buildings amply illustrate the skills of ancient Chinese garden designers. 

Opened to the public in 1925, the park’s lakes, botanical gardens, pavilions, ancient artefacts, beautiful vistas and lawns are now much valued treasures. That it is appreciated by the people is amply demonstrated by the fact that the park is thronged with crowds and the lake full of boats. The park also offers restaurants and bars and several entertainment options from classical opera to modern dance competitions, 

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