The most popular form of architecture associated with Buddhism are pagodas, which is also considered an important part of Asian culture. Its origin can be traced back to the third century BC when the first Indian stupas were built. The first pagodas were entirely built of wood. Then, more solid materials started to be introduced. To protect them from being burnt and decayed, this unique architectural style has developed. As a result, there is a considerable increase in the number of impressive pagodas. This article introduces the most famous pagodas in China – the largest country in Asia.
1. Liuhe Pagoda
Liuhe literally means Pagoda of six notes of harmony“. This architectural wonder is located at the foot of Yuelun Hill in Hangzhou, China. Named after six Buddhist ordinances, Liuhe Pagoda was first built during the Song dynasty in the north from 960 to 1127 AD to prevent major tides at the mouth of the Qiantang River. The octagonal pagoda is totally built of brick and wood and has a height of 196 feet (approximately 60 meters). Each floor of this seven-story tower is decorated with unique paintings and carvings of flowers and animals. The stories can be connected together through a spiral staircase system.
2. Sakyamuni Pagoda
As the oldest pagoda made of wood in China, Sakyamuni Pagoda was originally a large temple that was built under the Liao dynasty. During this 900 years of existence, the 221-foot or 66.5-meter building has been rebuilt several times and attacked by numerous earthquakes. The name of the pagoda originates from the giant statue of Sakyamuni Buddha inside the first story.
3. Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Located in Xi’an, one of the four Chinese ancient capitals, Big Wild Goose Pagoda is a symbol of Chinese culture and a sacred place for Buddhists. It is considered a masterpiece of Buddhist architecture due to its simple but charming style. The name “Big Wild Goose” comes from the legend that a goose broke its wings and fell into the pagoda as soon as a group of Buddhist monks was praying to Bodhisattvas for some food. With a height of 211.6 feet (67 meters), Big Wild Goose can be seen from almost every hotel in Xi’an.
4. Tianning Pagoda
At a height of 504.6 feet (157.5 meters), the 13-storey Tianning is the tallest pagoda in the world. The extremely durable wood brought from Burma and 75 tons of copper and gold were the main building material for this astonishing construction. Tianning is 7.2 meters taller than the Khufu pyramid in Egypt and has a 30-ton bronze bell whose sound can resonate in a distance of more than five kilometers.
5. Yellow Crane Pagoda
As the first sight in heaven, Yellow Crane is one of the most famous stupas in the south of Yangtze River. This is also a symbol of Wuhan City. First built in the period of the Three Kingdoms by Sun Quan, who is a king of the Wu dynasty, Yellow Crane once acted as a watching tower for his army. After many centuries, the function as a military base was no longer fulfilled. Instead, Yellow Crane became a famous landmark for its dramatic landscape. For this reason, the beauty of Yellow Crane was praised in poems and songs. Although it was destroyed many times by fires, this construction still was rebuilt by the local people. The architecture as it is now has started since 1985 and its design is based on the image of the Qing dynasty.
6. Leifeng pagoda
Leifeng Pagoda was built in 975 by the king of the Wuyue to celebrate the birth of his son. Then, Leifeng quickly became one of the most famous works in China. With octagonal architecture, the five-story pagoda was built of brick and wood. Unfortunately, this architecture has suffered a great deal of damage for centuries. In 1924, it suddenly collapsed. Due to its popularity as a tourist attraction with numerous historic values, the Leifeng Pagoda was restored and inaugurated in 2002.
7. Sun and Moon Pagodas
Situated beside Banyu Lake, Sun and Moon Pagodas are listed among the most famous tourist attractions in Guilin, China. Of the two pagodas, the Sun is the highest bronze pagoda in the world, particularly, it has a height of 41 meters. The Moon is only 35 meters high. These two temples are connected by a tunnel under the lake. The best time to visit the Sun and Moon pagodas is in the night when both of them are lit up in yellow and blue.
China, as well as Asian countries, owns quite a few unique architecture forms. If you are curious about Asian cultures and arts, you should not hesitate to arrange a trip to Asian countries.