Leifeng Pagoda is currently a five story tall tower which has eight sides and is located on Sunset Hill along the south route of the West Lake in Hangzhou which was originally constructed in the year AD 975. It has been a popular tourist attraction since being rebuilt in 2002.
History of the pagoda
The original pagoda was built in 975 AD, during Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms
period, at the order of King Qian Chu
(born Qian Hongchu) of Wuyue
. It was built to celebrate the birth of Qian Chu
's son, born to Huang Fei
, one of his favorite concubines. The Leifeng Pagoda was an octagonal, five-storeyed structure built of brick and wood and with a base built out of bricks.
During the Ming dynasty, Japanese pirates attacked Hangzhou. Suspecting it contained weapons, they burned its wooden elements, leaving only the brick skeleton, as can be seen from Ming paintings of the West Lake.
Later, due to a superstition that bricks from the tower could repel illness or prevent miscarriage, many people stole bricks from the tower to grind into powder. On the afternoon of September 25 1924, the pagoda finally collapsed due to disrepair.
Construction of the original
Leifeng Pagoda was originally an octagonal, five-storied tower of brick and wood.
As for whether there was a mausoleum below, this was debated for years until finally radar was used to investigate. On March 11 2001 the mausoleum was excavated and many treasures were found, most notably a gold and silver coated hair of the Buddha.
In October 1999, the provincial and municipal governments complied with the aspirations of the general public decided to rebuild Leifeng Pagoda anew to enhance the scenery of the lake. The body of the pagoda was be based on a steel structure and copper parts which was made up of 1400 tonnes of steel and 200 tonnes of copper.
On 25 October 2002
, the rebuilt Leifeng Pagoda opened, built above the ruins of the old one and with documents and exhibits on show for visitors. The current structure contains four sightseeing elevators, and modern features including air conditioners, televisions and speakers. At the entrance of the pagoda there are two autonomous elevators to carry visitors to the foot of the pagoda. The original base of the pagoda is kept in good condition as well as the treasures discovered in a undergroud chamber.
Leifeng Pagoda was one of the ten sights of the West Lake because of the Legend of the White Snake