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Photographer's Note

This is a detail of the facade of the gigantic Temple of Sumeru, Happiness and Longevity in Chengde.

Chengde is the imperial city in the hills of the northern Hebei. This is where the first Qing dynasty emperors (who came from the north) went to escape the heat of summer in Beijing.

Here the emperors created a more relaxed version of the Forbidden City, with scenic spots for literature and meditation, lakes to go boating and - perhaps more important - lots of hunting grounds.

Surrounding the walled summer retreat are eight politically inspired temples. These impressive buildings were built for diplomatic rather than spiritual reasons, often to host visiting dignitairies.

The Sumeru temple was built in honour of the sixth Panchen Lama who stayed here in 1781 and incorporates elements of Tibetan and Chinese architecture, being an imitation of a temple in Shigatse.

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Additional Photos by Benny Verbercht (BennyV) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1539 W: 34 N: 2211] (13538)
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