Reminiscing the Past in Pagodas

Pagodas are a traditional part of Chinese architecture combining Buddhism, literature, sightseeing and history. Gracing the tops of mountains or nestled by lakes and rivers, pagodas are renowned platforms for spectacular views but were originally built to house and enshrine sacred Buddhist relics.

Many surviving pagodas have withstood the test of time, each reflecting the history they have witnessed and in turn become. So if you want to know more about the past then pass the time over a pagoda or two…

There are a lot of pagodas in Hangzhou but the three most famous ones are Leifeng Pagoda on Nanshan Road, Six Harmonies Pagoda by Qiantang River and Baochu Pagoda on Precious Stone Hill. There is a Hangzhou saying which refers Leifeng Pagoda to an elderly monk, Six Harmonies Pagoda to a majestic general and Baochu Pagoda as a slim beauty.

Leifeng Pagoda (雷峰塔)
Leifeng Pagoda is a five story octagonal, wood and brick pagoda located on Sunset Hill south of the West Lake. Noted as one of the Top Ten Views of West Lake, Leifeng Pagoda is the historical and cultural landmark of Hangzhou and also has a deep connection with the Legend of the White Snake, a beautiful love story of Xu Xian and the White Snake.

The pagoda has led a very rocky life. The original was erected in 975 AD during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period but collapsed on 25 September 1924 but was rebuilt again in 2002 where its remains are preserved at its base. History believes that the temple collapsed because the locals were stealing bricks – a tall tale, but a historical one too.

A popular tourist attraction, Leifeng Pagoda may have fallen on hard times in the past, but today its stands proud in offering some of the most spectacular views around.

Address: No.15, Nanshan Road, Hangzhou (杭州市南山路15号)
Tel: 86-571-87982111
Ticket: RMB40
Hours: 8:00-17:30

Six Harmonies Pagoda (六和塔)
Standing 60 metres high (196 feet) on Yuelun Hill(月轮山) south of the famous West Lake is a most charming octagonal pagoda and one of China’s ancient architectural masterpieces. Six Harmonies Pagoda or Liuhe Temple as it is also known was first built in 970 AD during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) and reconstructed in the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279).

The name Six Harmonies has two kinds of interpretation one is that it is related to the six codes of Buddhism: body, mind, speech, opinion, wealth and abstinence from temptation. While the other suggests that Six Harmonies refers to the harmony of the four directions (North, South, East and West) and heaven and earth.

Known in ancient times to calm the tidal waters of the Qiantang River and a place in which to view the notorious tidal wave, today, the Six Harmonies Pagoda, with its ornately decorated ceilings, is after years of renovation the same platform, 7-storey high, that gives you the most spectacular views of Hangzhou and its famous Qiantang River.

Address:No.16, Zhijiang Road, Hangzhou (杭州市之江路16号)
Tel: 86-571-86591364
Ticket: RMB20+RMB10 (RMB20 for entering the park and RMB10 fro scaling the Pagoda)
Hours: 6:00-17:30

Baochu Pagoda (保俶塔)
Adorning Precious Stone Hill, Baochu Pagoda also known as Blessing Chu Pagoda is regarded as the landmark of Hangzhou’s famous West Lake.

In 968, Qian Chu, the last king of the Wuyue Kingdom was summoned by the emperor to Kaifeng, then the capital of China. Many days passed and with no news of his return one of his ministers had the pagoda erected as a temple so prayers could be said for his safe return.

Baochu Pagoda is a solid structure with no interior staircase and its small base supports seven storey’s which, owing to the wisdom and creativeness of the Chinese workmen, gives it a slender and elegant appearance.

Address: Precious Stone Hill, Hangzhou (杭州市宝石山)
Tel: 86-571-87996663
Ticket: Free
Hours: 7:30—17:30