On the way to the Great Wall of China at Badaling, I was driven to one of the three Ming Tombs of Beijing, Changling, a World Cultural Heritage site. The other two tombs being Dingling and Zhaoling. An intriguing place, I was informed by guide that the Ming Tomg held many secrets pertaining to the Ming dynasty that ruled China.
Believed to be the resting place of the emperors of the Ming Dynasty, Zhu Di (also called as Emperor Yongle), the Changling tomb is located in the mountains of Tianshou.
Located 50 kms north of Beijing , the Changling tomb contains a massive underground tomb for the Ming Empress Xu, a huge citadel and a memorial tower on top of the building along with a gigantic bronze statue of Zhu Di himself.
In front of the tomb is the square city with 5 ceremonial vessels including a flower, incense stick, candles as a dedication to who sacrificed here. Behind these vessels contains a large stone wall in front of the Memorial Tower.
The Secret of Changling
Though Changling Tomb is one of the largest tombs (and definitely the best maintained), built for Emperor Yongle, noone actually knows where he was buried in that reserve. As per his instructions, his sixteen concubines were also buried there (forced to hang) inside the tomb. It was forbidden to do any excavation in this area and the exact spot still remains a mystery to all. Nevertheless it is extremely well maintained and a beautiful mausoleum built around a hilly area.
Just before the exit you can find a double pillar gate called LingXingmen in front of the tomb. It was believed by the Chinese people that spirits travel in a straight line and this special gate prevented them from entering the tomb towards the emperor. So it’s actually customary to keep three steps, step out into the gate while coming back and say “Wǒ huíláile” (我回来了). It translates to “I am back” and essentially tells your spirits that you have stepped out.
The History of Changling
Do check out my Beijing 4 day itinerary here.