Here is an outstanding view from Tanzhe Temple 潭柘寺 about 30 km west of Beijing. The tower is one of many tombs of monks who have studied here throughout the centuries. I also visited Jietaisi 戒台寺，but it was becoming very commercialized with a conference area and museum. My guide was a student I met shortly after arriving at Tanzhesi. His name is 刘天元,but his English name is Owen. He wanted to practice English with a native speaker so he translated many of the inscriptions in order for me to better appreciate the temples’ history. Owen’s mother is a high school Biology teacher and was very hospitable. She invited me to lunch with them while we waited for the bus to take us to Jietaisi.
Pictures inside the temple buildings are forbidden so I only have outdoor scenic shots. The smell of incense is pervasive even outdoors. Here is one of the temples at Jeitaisi. The covered table on the right would normally have at least one clerk pushing incense on tourists. The lack of tourists and salespeople in the picture show just how empty Jietaisi was compared to Tanzhesi. I only encountered two other western visitors and a handful of Chinese tourists here.