Hohhot has more than 400 years history and famous with distinctive ethnic characteristics and many historical sites. There are more than 50 temples here. Among them, Dazhao Temple, built in the Ming Dynasty, is the largest Yellow Sect temple in Hohhot and also one of the few temples in Inner Mongolia that does not have a living Buddha. After viewing this Buddhist temple, you could stroll through the Five Pagodas Temple in the city center and marvel at the superb craftsmanship of the ancients.
Outside the city, on the south bank of the Dahei River, there is an ancient tomb of the Western Han Dynasty, the Tomb of Zhaojun, which has been recited in the past and present, and the green mound stands tall and magnificent.
Dazhao Temple, situated in the old urban area, is the oldest and the largest Tibetan Buddhist monastery of the Gelugpa in the city of Hohhot.
Covering an area of 30,000 square meters, Dazhao Temple was completed in 1580 during the Ming Dynasty. Rebuilt in 1640, but it maintained much of the original architectural style.
The solemn and gorgeous construction inside is mainly Han style, complemented by the architectural style of the Mongolians. In addition, it has collected abundant precious cultural relics, works of art, musical instruments, etc. Among them, the most notable are the silver statue of Buddha, the dragon carvings, and murals.
The Silver Buddha statue of Sakyamuni, in a sitting posture, is made of pure silver with a height of 3 meters and was dedicated by the third Tibetan Dalai Lama in 1586.
Due to his visit, Dazhao Temple reached the pinnacle of its fame, and Hohhot became a religious center for people to worship from all over Inner Mongolia.
There are two vivid and realistic golden dragons hovering over the two pillars in front of the Silver Buddha, as if they are listening intently to the Buddha’s teachings.
The contents of murals in Dazhao Temple are rich and colorful, mainly Buddhist characters and stories. There are more than 770 figures in the murals with splendid and grand occasions. The outstanding murals still kept fresh and colorful till now, reflect the professional and exquisite skills in paintings during the Ming Dynasty.
Five Pagodas Temple
Walking east for about 15 minutes, visitors can reach another famous monastery in Hohhot, the Five Pagodas Temple, named after there are five small stupas on the Vajra seat behind the temple.
The temple was built from 1727 to 1732 during the Qing Dynasty, but now only the pagoda has remained. With 16 meters, the pagoda is composed of three parts: the base, the Vajra seat, and the top (five small squared stupas).
The lower part of the tower is inlaid with Vajra Sutra written in Mongolian, Tibetan, and Sanskrit scripts; the upper part of the tower is a niche for a thousand Buddhas, and there are 1563 small gilt Buddha statues in the niche.
The most valuable relic in this pagoda is the stone-carved Mongolian astronomical map which draws the meridian of the position of twenty-eight zodiacal constellations and other stars. It is so far the world’s only astronomical map marked in Mongolian, and has a high scientific research value.
The Zhaojun Tomb
The Zhaojun Tomb, also known as the “Green Mound”, is located 9 kilometers south of Hohhot city, on the banks of the Dahei River, and is the burial place of Wang Zhaojun, a concubine of the West Han Dynasty.
Wang Zhaojun is famed as one of the Four Beauties of ancient China. In 33 B.C. Wang Zhaojun left the Xi’an, the capital of the West Han Dynasty, to marry the Mongolian Chanyu, chief of the Xiongnu tribe in ancient China. She made a great contribution to remain the 60’s years of peace between the Han and the Xiongnu group and won the respect and love of the locals and Han.
The Chinese story of “Zhaojun Chusai (literally Zhaojun left for the north)” has been passed down from generation to generation and was a symbol of China’s national unity in poetry and novels.
To the memory of this goodwill ambassador from the Han, the locals built the tomb after her death. The Zhaojun Tomb, with 33 meters high, was made of rammed earth and covered 1.3 hectares. Standing on the top of the tomb, you can obtain a splendid view of the vast plains and rolling Yinshan Mountains in the distance.
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