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China: Around The Nation

Visitors to Beijing temple seek pain relief on the road to heaven

Devotees of alternative medicine swear by the healing properties of the central section of Danbi Bridge within the grounds of the Temple of Heaven

PUBLISHED : Sunday, 02 July, 2017, 3:35pm
UPDATED : Sunday, 02 July, 2017, 3:36pm

It seems not everyone who visits the Temple of Heaven in Beijing does so to marvel at its ancient architecture and soak up its rich cultural heritage.

For many, the tourist attraction’s biggest draw is its central thoroughfare, which they believe possesses mystical healing powers, Chinese media reported.

Images published by news portal 163.com show people of all ages lying along the central jade section of Danbi Bridge, in the belief that doing so will cure their ills.

In the video from which the images were taken, a 72-year-old Chinese man, who was not named, explains his devotion to the alternative remedy.

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“My physical and spiritual health are both good. And it’s all thanks to lying on this stone road,” he said.

He’s certainly not alone in his beliefs. The video shows row upon row of devotees lying along the middle section of the bridge as tourists amble by on either side.

A manager at the attraction was quoted in the video as saying that it is common in the summer months to see people lying on the walkway.

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Others said that doing so is better than acupuncture for curing everything from a bad back to gynaecological problems.

And there appears to be no age restriction. In one shot, a toddler is seen lying happily drinking his bottle while lying on the stone road.

Not everyone is happy about it, though, with several people complaining about the amount of bare flesh on show.

An official at the site, however, said that while uncivilised behaviour is not tolerated, there are no rules banning people from removing their tops.

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The 700-year-old Danbi Bridge is the main thoroughfare at the Temple of Heaven, linking the Hall of Prayer for Good Harvest with the Imperial Vault of Heaven. The 360m long by 29m wide adopts the title “bridge” loosely though it does rise by about two metres along the course of its length.