Tuesday, May 23, 2006

Leifeng Pagoda

The last amazing place that we went to in Hangzhou was the Leifeng Pagoda.

This is an incredible pagoda that looms over the West Lake covered in gold. When the sun shines it is almost blinding.

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The pagoda that you see and go inside is only a few years old and was built as a tomb of sorts to protect the original pagoda pieces.

People actually throw money on the pagoda ruins and pray for good luck and love.

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This pagoda has a romantic love story behind it.

It was built in 975 as a thank you present to one of the kings wives who bore a son and has been standing there for more than 400 years. The heart of the pagoda was made of brick with timber rails and rafters around it. Over the many years natural tragedy destroyed the wood but the heart remained in place.

The folklore around the pagoda has to do with the Legend of the White Snake. In the legend a white snake turns herself into a spirit of human form and falls in love with Xu Xian. This love affair was a big deal and considered a huge taboo as it was the love between a spirit and a human. The Monk Fa Hai banished the spirit under the pagoda and placed a curse upon the building:

‘Leifeng Pagoda would never collapse unless the West Lake be dry.’

The pagoda collapsed on the afternoon of September 25, 1924 and the entire city was deserted as everyone ran to the hill to watch the pagoda collapse. It was believed that the love within was released and people began to love freely after this. The pagoda was never rebuilt.

A few years ago the people of the town decided that they needed to protect the remains of the pagoda from any more deterioration and the new pagoda was built.

This place is modern in every way – elevators, smoke detectors, alarms, metal and plastic. It is still beautiful though and if you go to the top you have the most amazing views of the city.

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Posted by (Top)Andrea::5/23/2006 :: 6 Comments:

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