The Big Bell Temple is situated in Beisanhuan Xilu (western section of the North 3rd Ring Road), approximately two kilometers east of Haidian Road. When the temple was first built in 1733, it was called the Temple of Awakening. In 1743, during the reign of Emperor Qianlong, The temple was named after the famous Yongle Big Bell, which was cast during the reign of Emperor Yongle (1403-1424) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and was transferred from the Temple of Longevity (Wanshousi) to this temple.
The Yongle Big Bell hangs in the Bell Tower at the compound and weighs about 46 tons, with a height of 5.5 meters and a diameter of 3.3 meters. The Bell tower is 16.7 meters high, with a square base, a circular upper structure and windows on four sides. The bell is famous not only because of its size, but probably more importantly because of the over 230,000 characters of Buddhist scriptures engraved on it. It is said that Yao Guangxiao cast the bronze bell during the Yongle period (1403-1424) of the Ming Dynasty.
The temple compound contains three rows of halls, one lined up behind the other. In the courtyard in front of the first big hall is an ancient cypress which has an elm branch grafted onto its trunk.
By climbing the spiral stairway to the top of the tower, the visitor will obtain a fine view of the surrounding countryside.