Leifeng Pagoda

Hangzhou Leifeng Pagoda
Leifeng Pagoda
The Leifeng Pagoda stands on Leifeng Peak of Sunset Hill to the south of West Lake, echoing the Baochu Pagoda in the north. It is the oldest colorful bronze pagoda in China. Standing on the top of the pagoda, tourists can appreciate the nearby Jingci Temple, enjoy the landscapes of West Lake, and even see the city of Hangzhou from a distance. At dusk, the colorful evening glow and green mountains are mirrored in the rippling lake, forming a picturesque scene renowned as "Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow", one of the top ten scenes of West Lake.
 

History

Leifeng Pagoda was constructed in the second year (977) during the Taiping Xingguo Period in the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) by the king of Wuyue Kingdom to celebrate the pregnancy of his favorite concubine, Huangfei. Thus, it was originally named Huangfei Pagoda. However, in the second year (1120) during the Xuanhe Period of the Northern Song Dynasty, the pagoda was severely damaged by war. Later, it was renovated during the Qingyuan Period (1195-1200) of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). Since then, "Leifeng Pagoda in Evening Glow" has been famed as one of the top ten scenes in the West Lake.

During the Jiajing period (1522-1566) of the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), pirates invaded Hangzhou, and burned the tower down for fear that soldiers lay in ambush there. As a result, all the wooden structures were ruined, and only brick framework remained. What is worse, the bricks were stolen gradually from late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911) to the early Republic of China (1912-1949) because local people believed that these bricks could exorcise evil spirits, bless people with many children, and promote the growth of silkworms. Consequently, the tower fell down on September 25th, 1924.

The site was cleaned up and the underground palace was excavated from 2000 to 2001. A great number of cultural relics were found, including gilded bronze statues of Buddha, bronze mirrors, bronze coins, jade figures, and a gilded stupa inside an iron box of Buddhist relics. On December 26, 2000, the foundation of the new tower was laid. The construction was completed on October 25th, 2002.
 

Legend

Leifeng Pagoda is associated with a touching love story between a white snake spirit and a mortal man. Legend has it that a white snake and a blue snake took on the appearance of beautiful ladies after acquiring the supernatural powers over thousands of years. They were named Bai Suzhen and Xiao Qing. One day when they were visiting West Lake, it suddenly rained. Fortunately, they met a scholar named Xu Xian on the Broken Bridge. He lent his umbrella to them. Xu Xian and Bai Suzhen fell in love with each other at first sight. Soon, they were married.

However, Evil Monk Fa Hai imprisoned Xu Xian so as to separate this couple. Bai Suzhen tried hard to save her husband by using her power. But all her efforts were in vain, and she was imprisoned under the Leifeng Pagoda. Driven by anger and sadness, Xiao Qing tried her utmost to improve her supernatural power. Finally, she beat the Evil Monk Fa Hai, tore down the tower, and saved Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian. From then on, Bai Suzhen and Xu Xian lived together happily. 
Leifeng Pagoda Relics
Relics of the Original Pagoda
Ceiling of Leifeng Pagoda
Dome of the Pagoda

Structural Layout

The current Leifeng Pagoda is comprised of three parts: the pedestal, the body part, and the top. The octagonal pagoda is 236 feet (72 meters) high. The two-storey pedestal is 33 feet (10 meters), the five-storey body part is 151 feet (46 meters), and the top is 52 feet (18 meters). The body part has a side length of 12 yards (11 meters), a diameter of 31 yards (28 meters), and a girth of 96 yards (88 meters). It covers a total area of 3,747 square yards (3,133 square meters). Inside the tower are two elevators which can carry tourists to the top.

The relics of the ancient tower are preserved on two basement storeys. Tourists can see the ancient bricks of the original tower through glass. The Legend of the White Snake Spirit is presented on the first storey above ground, in six parts. The mural on the second storey above ground shows how the tower was constructed in the Wuyue Kingdom. Poems and essays composed by writers of the past about the Leifeng Pagoda are exhibited on the third storey. The colorful murals on the fourth storey focus on the "Top Ten Scenes of the West Lake". In the dome, there are 2002 shrines, each containing a small gilded stupa. There is also a Heavenly Palace in the dome. Records of the renovation of the tower and models of the new tower are put in the palace.

The roof is covered with bronze tiles which resemble terracotta tiles. Under the roof hang bronze chimes which make melodious sounds when blown by the wind.
 

Transportation

Take bus line Y2, 4, Y6, Y9, 31, 51 (Inner Line), 52 (Outer Line), 87, 287, 291, 315, 334, 822, or the West Lake South Holiday Line, get off at the Jingsi Station, and walk to the site.
 Hangzhou Bus/ Metro Search
 
Admission Fee CNY 40 for adults and children above 4.9 feet (1.5 meters).
Children between 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) and 4.9 feet (1.5 meters) in height enjoy half price tickets.
Children less than 3.9 feet (1.2 meters) in height can visit the pagoda free of charge.
Opening Hours March 16 to April 30: 08:00 - 19:00 (ticketing stopped at 18:30)
May 1 to October 30: 08:00 - 20:00 (ticketing stopped at 19:30)
November 1 to next March 15: 08:00 - 17:30 (ticketing stopped at 17:00)