07 Juli 2011

Awakening to the sound of the largest bell in the word

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Correctly termed as the Temple of awakening, China’s Great Bell Temple houses the biggest bell in the world and while its soft chime is musical, its loud clamorous tones can be heard for more than 50 km away at night. This ancient temple was built during the Qing Dynasty and has the big bell tower within its premises as well as the bell museum which holds an exquisite collection of well designed bells. The temple is situated in the western part of Beijing and this large bell which weighs 46.5 tons with a height of 6.75m and 3.3 diameters and also is called the ‘Yong’le bell after the emperor who ordered it.

The forklore associated with the history of the bell’s origin is touching and likewise the story as to how this large bell was placed atop the tower is just as incredible. Accurately termed as the king of Bells, this oldest bell in the world is a scientific marvel with excellent acoustic performance and clear tones that can be heard as far as 40-50 km away. The casting of this amazing instrument is truly baffling especially since very few sand holes were found during an ultra sonic examination and it is hypothesized that accurate timing as well as a massive heating system must have been utilized to create this fine bell whose metal is an excellent bronze alloy. As if that were not enough, there are delicate carvings and Buddhist inscriptions found on both internal and external surface areas containing more than 227,000 Chinese characters. The museum is devoted to ancient bells of china and describes their history and evolution. Opened in 1986, this is China’s first bell museum and contains a majority of bronze bells and the oldest bell which is over 700 years old.

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