As I’ve been biking to my new uni in the mornings, I’ve been going past a place called 大钟寺 Dàzhōng Sì, or Big Bell Temple.

I’ve lived nearby for two years but never been in. So the other day I went to have a look.

The peace and tranquility within the compound mark a contrast with the liveliness of the bus stops on the ring road outside.

I walked round first taking it all in. Only then did I retrace my steps and take a few snaps.

When I look round sites like these, I’m a completer. For other people, an impression is enough. I want to experience all of it. I have to see every corner.

The Big Bell Temple was built in 1733 by 雍正帝, Yōng Zhèng Dì, the Yong Zheng Emperor.

The temple is named after its Great Bell. It’s hard to get a sense of scale here, but it weighs 46.5 tons and is 6.7 m tall.

If it was rung, it could be heard 50km away in the dead of night. These support beams are like trees.

The oldest bell I saw was cast in 1077AD. It is nearly 1000 years old.

There was a model showing how the people of long ago cast great bells. I found it fascinating.

A great pit was dug. Inner and outer moulds were set in place. The pit was re-filled with earth.

Furnaces were set up. Molten bronze or iron was poured down between the moulds to harden. The pit was excavated and the giant bell lifted out. Voila!

In Chinese, a 钟 zhōng is a hollow bell that is struck on its outside to make a sound. The sort of bell with a clapper inside is called a 鈴 líng.

What does the sound of bells evoke for you?

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