Situated in Haidian District in the northwestern suburbs, the temple was built in 1733 in the reign of Emperor Yongzheng of the Qing Dynasty. Originally named Temple of Awakening (Jueshengsi), it took up the present name Dazhongsi (Great Bell Temple) because of the famous bell it housed. The bell is the largest in China and the second largest in the world.
The bell is also known as the Avatamsaka Bell because it bears the full text of all 81 volumes of the Lotus Scripture (Avatamsaka Sutra). It is sometimes referred to as the Yongle Bell since it was cast by the order of Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty in 1406.
Standing 6.75 m high and weighing 46.5 tons, the bell is also famous for its pure, deep and melodious tone. Its frequency ranges from 22 to 800 hertz. Reaching 120 decibels, the sound can be heard 50 km away on a quiet night.
The temple has now been turned into a museum of bells, where you can see numerous bells cast in different periods, in different sizes and different shapes and for different purposes.