The Imperial Vault of Heaven – Beijing’s Haven for the Tablets of the Gods
Believed to have been the place that housed the tablet of God and the tablets of the Emperor's eight ancestors, the Imperial Vault of Heaven is an interesting site to visit. This single gabled circular structure is one of the Taoist buildings that make up the Temple of Heaven site situated in the Xuanwu District in Southeastern Beijing.
This structure of the vault is a smaller version of the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest which is also found on the premises. Unsupported by any horizontal beams, the Vault is built in an umbrella style manner that is held by 8 main pillars and stands at a height of 19.5 meters. It remains an eye catching sight with a blue tiled roof that is crowned with a gilded ball, giving the appearance of a holy place, whilst its flooring is of marble.
Upon entering the Imperial Vault of Heaven, you will be enchanted by its inner setting. Dominating the center is a shrine which is believed to be the place where the tablet of God was placed. On each of its 4 sides stands a stone platform where the tablets of the Emperor's eight ancestors were kept. There are also 2 chambers located at the front of the vault which contains other tablets used for worship related to gods of the elements and nature.
A unique feature of the Imperial Vault of Heaven is that it is surrounded by an echo wall where even whispers spoken on one side of it can be heard from the other side. After visiting the vault, tourists can move on to explore more of the Temple of Heaven by ascending the Vermilion Steps Bridge, which is a 360 meter raised walkway that leads to the Hall of Prayer.
Visitors looking for a Beijing hotel that is well placed for exploring the area can stay at the Raffles Beijing hotel. This luxury hotel in Beijing provides a relaxing base to enjoy a much needed vacation in comfort and style.
About the Author:
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.