Leifeng Pagoda is a five story tall tower with eight sides, located on Sunset Hill south of the West Lake in Hangzhou. Originally constructed in the year AD 975, it collapsed in 1924 but was rebuilt in 2002, since when it has been a popular tourist attraction.
Lei Feng pagoda was constructed in 975 at the order of Qian Hongchu, the King of Wuyue Kingdom to celebrate the birth of a son by one of his favorite concubines - Huangfei. It was therefore called Huangfei Pagoda at that time. Since the pagoda was located outside the west gate of the city, it was also known as the Brick Pagoda of West Gate. All those names, however, have been forgotten over the years; only the name Leifeng Pagoda has been passed on from generation to generation.
History & Background
Leifeng Pagoda was an octagonal, five-storeyed structure built of brickand wood. The body of the pagoda was made of brick, but the eaves, balconies, inside landings and balustrades were made of wood. Stones with the Huayan Scriptures inscribed on them were inlaid on the inner walls of the pagoda. There used to be sixteen sculptures of vajra arhats at the foot of the pagoda, but they were later moved to Jingci Temple.
The pagoda became a household name in China thanks to the popular folk tale, "The Legend of the White Snake", a touching love story about a girl who changed into a snake and a young man. The story has been repeatedly adapted for traditional operas and also for modern movies and TV series.
In the story, the couple are separated by an evil old monk with magical powers, who had the snake girl imprisoned under the Leifeng Pagoda for years. She is finally rescued by her son who caused the collapse of the pagoda.
In real life, the pagoda also had a sad history. During the Yuan Dynasty it was a magnificent building "of ten thousand chi" standing "aloft as if in midair." It suffered a most severe disaster during the Ming Dynasty. During the Jiaqing years (1522-66) Japanese invaders set fire to the pagoda and burned the coves, balconies, balustrades and steeple to ashes, leaving only a brick skeleton. Later some superstitious and ignorant people often took bricks from the pagoda in the belief that the abrasive powder of the bricks was a magic remedy that could cure all diseases and keep a foetus from aborting. Others stole Buddhist scriptures from the pagoda in order to make money. Finally, in August 1924 the foot of the pagoda was dug hollow and other parts of the pagoda were so severely damaged that the ancient pagoda suddenly collapsed.
Lu Xun (1881--1936), one of the most prestigious figures in contemporary Chinese literature, wrote an article declaring the collapse of the Leifeng Pagoda was a major blow to the feudalistic social order that had ruled China for thousands of years. The article was later included in a textbook for Chinese students.
Chinese experts have long debated whether or not the Leifeng Pagoda should be rebuilt. A strong argument for the pagoda's rebuilding was that it had great archaeological value and was also an ancient architectural masterpiece.
Originally of Buddhist architecture, the Leifeng Pagoda was said to have once housed the hair and skeletal remains of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism. In March of 2001, a number of ancient Buddhist relics were unearthed from the underground chamber of the pagoda.
In October 1999, a special committee was organized to study academic papers and correlated materials to prepare for reconstruction of the tower. After careful study, the committee chose to set up a steel structure similar to the old tower over at the original site of pagoda. The new one is designed to be a five-storied pavilion inlaid with brick and upturned eaves.
In November, 2000, the Hangzhou Municipal People's Government declared that it was going to rebuild Lei Feng Pagoda. And the construction completed in October, 2002.
Admission: CNY 40, children under 1.3 m (4 ft 3 in) CNY 20
Hours: 8:00-17:30 Nov 16-Mar 14, 7:30-21:00 Mar 15-Nov 15
How to get there: It's well known enough a name for a taxi to drop you off there at the southern shore of West Lake. Also, bus no. K4, K504, K514, K808, 822, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y6, Y7 and Y9 can all get you there.
Duration：6 - 8 Hours
Attractions(Cities)：The hangzhou Westlake(including a boat cruise), Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond, Guo Garden, Drangon Well Tea Plantation, Bamboo lined path at Yunqi, Qinghefang Ancient Street
Tour Style：Accompanied by your private knowledgeable guide over 5+ years guiding experience and skillful driver over 10+ years driving experience, explore the best of Hangzhou on a full-day tour. Take a boat ride on West Lake to stay away from the crowds. the placid waters of which have been immortalized throughout history in literature and poetry. Experience a Chinese tea ceremony at Longjing Green Tea Plantation; walk through the Bamboo lined path at Yunqi to fully experience the serenity and beautiful nature of Hangzhou.
Duration：6 - 8 Hours
Attractions(Cities)：The hangzhou Westlake(including the boat cruise), Fish Viewing at the Flower Pond, Lingyin Temple and Meijiawu Tea Plantation, Anmanfayun Village, The Song Dynasty Imperial Street
Tour Style：This comprehensive Skip-The-Line full day tour of Hangzhou is perfect for you. Take a boat ride around the UNESCO-listed West Lake, view elegant landscapes at Fish Viewing at Flower Park, visit the secluded Zen monastery of Lingyin Temple, sip tea at Meijiawu Tea Vollage and stroll Song Dynasty Imperial Street. This guided tour lets you skip those queues and head straight into each scenic spot, which make your trip hassel-free and time well spent.
Attractions(Cities)：The hangzhou Westlake(including a boat cruise), Lingyin Temple, Meijiawu Tea Plantation, Qinghefang Street, Impression WestLake Show
Tour Style：Discover the famous Paradise City Hangzhou on a fully customized sightseeing day trip from Shanghai by bullet train. Accompanied by your private guide, stroll around Flower Harbor Park and take a relaxing boat on the West Lake. Visit the famous Lingyin temple; See the traditional Meijiawu tea mountain; wonder along the old Hefang Street and enjoy the magnificent Impression Westlake show. Local lunch and dinner, tea tasting at Meijiawu, round trip bullet train tickets, private guide and private vehicle service are inclusive.
Attractions(Cities)：West Lake(Private rowing boat cruise), Guo's Villa, Lingyin Temple, Meijiawu Tea Plantation, Cheng Huang Pavilion
Tour Style：Independent travelers will love the flexibility of this private door to door day tour. This is the ideal tour for travelers with limited time in Hangzhou. Take the stress out of booking train tickets from Shanghai to Hangzhou and planning an itinerary by having everything arranged for you. Accompanied by your knowledgeable guide over 5+ years guiding experience and skillful driver over 10+ years driving experience, you'll immerse yourself in its world renowned natural, historical and cultural features.
Duration：2 Days, 1 Night
Attractions(Cities)：The West Lake(including boat cruise on the lake),Guo Garden,China National Tea Museum,Dragon Well Tea Plantation (Meijiawu Tea Village),Leifeng Pagoda,The Song Dynasty Imperial Street,Six Harmonies pagoda, Fish Viewing Flower Pond,Lingyin Temple, etc
Tour Style：As one of seven ancient capitals in China, the rich history and the splendid culture endow Hangzhou with profoundness. Come with us to discover Hangzhou's top attractions in two days. You'll enjoy boat ride on West Lake (Landmark of Hangzhou), Guo Garden, Leifeng Pagoda, etc. On the second day, explore Lingyin Temple, Longjing Tea Plantation (Best Green Tea & China national tea), Bamboo Forest & Ancient street. Take your VIP seat for the Impression West Lake Show.
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