Beijing- The Ming Tomb- Dingling

We went to a Ming Tomb prior to heading to the Great Wall.  The Ming Tombs are scattered throughout China, but most are near to Beijing.  All of the tombs were built at the bottom of a mountain. They’re mausoleums built for 13 of the 16 Emperors of the Ming Dynasty.  We went to Dingling.  “Ling” means tomb in Mandarin.

I loved our tour guide from Viator, although he was very superstitious.  We went to the 13th and last tomb that was built.  It was destroyed twice.  Once was from WWII by the Japanese.  I cannot remember the other time it was destroyed.  Maybe the Cultural Revolution?

Although the Emperor was not really buried there, according to our guide, we could not enter the tomb from the main entrance.  The main entrance is called the “gateway to heaven”.  We had to enter along the side.  Only the dead would enter through the main entrance and it could only be the Emperor.  It totally made sense once he verbalized it.  He also told us we couldn’t take selfies with the tomb as that would be bad luck.  I think that’s a bit disturbing but I guess I can see someone taking a selfie with a tomb?  I was a little freaked out I was going to mess up one of the rules.

DSC_0302 Ming Tomb
This is the “gateway to heaven” that we couldn’t walk through on our way into the tomb
DSC_0297 Ming Tomb
same for this entryway; we could only enter to the right or left

DSC_0295 - Ming Tomb DSC_0300 Ming Tomb DSC_0323 Ming Tomb

DSC_0326 Ming Tomb

The doorways weren’t large enough for the tomb to fit through so the Emperor and the two Empresses were never actually buried there.

DSC_0319 Ming Tomb
donations of incense, flowers and fruit are considered good luck
DSC_0314 MIng Tomb
the biggest one represents the Emperor’s tomb

We could exit through the main entrance.  Women had to step out with their right foot first and men with their left.  This part of the trip made me so nervous.  Our guide was so excitable and I didn’t want to break any of the rules.

But if you’re curious, I saw plenty of people entering through the main entrance when we were leaving.  I guess they didn’t have a tour guide to explain the bad luck in that.

This concludes the second day of my tour with Viator.  In addition to the tomb, we went to The Great Wall, the jade factory, tea house, and lunch was included.  We did have to pay an additional $100rmb (~$15US) for the round trip ski lift ticket at the Great Wall.  The total for this day, including the lift pass, was $60US.  They picked us up in our hotel and drove us around all day.  I was pleased with their services overall.

Day 1:

Day 2:

The total was $115 US.  I have seen different prices on different days.  I was lucky as both days my tours were a total of 4 people and we had pretty great viewing conditions.

Cheers for a prosperous 2018!

More to come on our Christmas trip to Macau, Tiananmen Square and the fireworks in Hong Kong for NYE.

Dana Sanza Chen
Senior Flavorist

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