Forbidden City was definitely out of the question for that afternoon; we were too tired. Our weariness did not stop us though from exploring the park just beside the Forbidden City – Beijing Working People’s Cultural Palace. For 2 RMB per person as entrance fee, the numerous benches underneath those gigantic trees were a welcome respite.
According to the marker, the place became the seat of Beijing Working People’s Cultural Palace in 1950. Originally constructed in the Ming Dynasty, the temple was a place where emperors of the Ming and Qing Dynasties offered sacrifices to their ancestors. In stark contrast to the hustle and bustle of the streets just outside the park, the cultural palace was serenity in the truest sense of the word. The whole stretch was lined with pine and ancient cypress trees, and the only sounds I could hear were our voices.
Walking a bit further, we chanced upon rock formations atop of which is a Chinese structure. Since there was no marker in sight to inform us of the significance of the rock formations and the structure, I assumed the structure to be a shed, and the rocks are there for aesthetic purposes. I know, however, that there is a profound cultural importance for those rocks; unfortunately, I do not know what it was.
We spent the rest of the afternoon at the park, talking about life, work, the future, and China. By the time we stepped out of the quietness, the sun had set on Beijing.
Images of Beijing when the sun goes down: