The Temple of Heaven

12th August 2004.

Tiantan Gongyuan, this is a beautiful park in Beijing and home of the Temple of Heaven complex. It wasn't too busy first thing in the morning and it was very peaceful to see the locals practise their singing, dancing and painting in the park. Soon the hoards of groups came piling in with their flags and microphones, so we left.

The Temple of Heaven is set amongst 267 hectares with four gates. Its original purpose was for the Son of Heaven who came here to pray for good harvests, help atone the sins of the people, and seek divine clearance.

Bear in mind that all those years ago the cultural revolution banned any fun, so the oldies make up for lost time entertaining each other with comic stories that meant nothing to us but seemed to make the locals laugh.

This old guy paints on the pavement some words that again mean nothing to us but seems to keep him and the other locals amused.

We think he might say "Mao never wore underpants". A very dangerous thing to say to 30 years ago.

They burnt a cow every year as a sacrifice to the gods when seeking good harvests. Poor cow.

The fountains have dried up but it still looks spectacular.

We found it hard not to take a photo of these people, together it cost them a small fortune to dress up for this photo.

This little girl was having such a tantrum, foot stamping, tears - the works.  We were not sure what the problem was, her parents had given her a pretty hat, an ice cream and a bag full of goodies.

The answer is small family syndrome!

These guys were great at singing and sang their hearts out much to the delight of the boy infront.

We have never seen so many signs of what you aren't allowed to do in a park. But we were glad there were no guns allowed.

Keeping the roller bladers out is definitely appreciated by this skateboarder!

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