Chengde, formerly known as Jehol and Rehe, is a prefecture-level city in Hebei province, situated northeast of Beijing. It is best known as the site of the Mountain Resort, a vast imperial garden and palace formerly used by the Qing emperors as summer residence. The permanent resident population is approximately 3,473,200 in 2017.
In 1703, Chengde was chosen by the Kangxi Emperor as the location for his summer residence. Constructed throughout the eighteenth century, the Mountain Resort was used by both the Yongzheng and Qianlong emperors. The site is currently an UNESCO World Heritage Site. Since the seat of government followed the emperor, Chengde was a political center of the Chinese empire during these times.
The city of Jehol—an early romanization of Rehe via the French transcription of the northern suffix ér as eul—reached its height under the Qianlong Emperor 1735-1796 (died 1799). The great Putuo Zongcheng Temple, loosely based on the Potala in Lhasa, was completed after just four years of work in 1771. It was heavily decorated with gold and the emperor worshipped in the Golden Pavilion. In the temple itself was a bronze-gilt statue of Tsongkhapa, the Reformer of the Gelugpa sect.
Under the Republic of China, Chengde was the capital of Rehe province. From 1933 to 1945 the city was under Japanese control as a part of the Manchurian puppet state known as Manchukuo. After World War II the Kuomintang regained jurisdiction. In 1948, the People’s Liberation Army took control of Chengde. It would remain a part of Rehe until 1955, when the province was abolished, and the city was incorporated into Hebei.
The city is home to large populations of ethnic minorities, Mongol and Manchu in particular.
(Pictures taken in 2009)
The Puning Temple, commonly called the Big Buddha Temple, is a Buddhist temple complex in Chengde, Hebei province, China. It was built in 1755 during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor in the Qing dynasty. It is near the Chengde Mountain Resort and alongside the equally famed Putuo Zongcheng Temple. Puning is one of the “Eight Outer Temples” of Chengde.
The Puning Temple was modeled after the Samye Monastery, the sacred Lamaist site in Tibet (much as the Putuo Zongcheng Temple was modeled after the Potala Palace in Lhasa). The front temple was constructed in the Chinese style, although the temple complex follows both Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The Puning Temple houses the world’s tallest wooden sculpture of the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara (22.28-meter-high and 110 ton), hence it is often nicknamed the “Big Buddha Temple”. The complex features temple halls, pavilions, drum towers and bell towers.
The Putuo Zongcheng Temple of Chengde, Hebei province, China is a Qing dynasty era Buddhist temple complex built between 1767 and 1771, during the reign of the Qianlong Emperor (1735–1796). It is located near the Chengde Mountain Resort, which is south of the Putuo Zongcheng. Along with the equally famed Puning Temple, it is one of the Eight Outer Temples of Chengde. The temple was modeled after the Potala Palace of Tibet, the residence of the Dalai Lama built a century earlier. Since it was modeled after the Potala palace, the temple represents a fusion of Chinese and Tibetan architectural styles. The temple complex covers a surface area of some 220,000 square metres (2,400,000 sq ft), making it one of the largest in China. Many of its halls and pavilions are adorned with copper and gold tiled roofs, adding to the splendor of the site.