Dali Tour To Three Pagodas
And Chongsheng Temple
Temple lies northwest of the Ancient Town of Dali. The
original temple, which was named the "Tianlong
Temple", has been ruined. The only remains from
that are the Three Pagodas.
The major pagoda, also named Qianxun Pagoda,
was built in the Tang Dynasty. It is a dense eave hollow brick
tower of 16 stories and 69. 13 meters in height. The other
two smaller pagodas, each of which has a distance of 70 meters
from the major one, stand in the southwest and northwest,
facing each other forming a tripod together with Qianxun Pagoda.
Built during the Five Dynasties, these two are dense-eave
octagonal 42-meter or ten story-high brick towers. The Three
Pagodas, standing like three legs of a tripod, have withstood
more than 10 earthquakes and thousand years of wind and severe
weather and can rightly be seen as architectural wonders.
Being the most spectacular pagoda complex in south China,
the Three Pagodas are a good reflection of Dali culture. In
1961 it was designated a key cultural and historical relic
under state protection. In 1978, during the renovation, 618
pieces of cultural relics were excavated, including the Buddha
statues, Buddhist scriptures and pestle of the Buddha's warrior
attendant. Among these relics, the most precious is the gold-plated
statue of Acuoyie Goddess of Mercy, which weighs 1 ,135 grams
and is 28 centimeters high.
The Three Pagodas is a key spot of Dali
National Scenic Area and 4A national tourist attraction. In
1997 the Nanzhao Jianji Bell was recast and then struck on
July l, 1997 to mark the reunification of Hong Kong and China.
The newly cast bell is 3. 86 meters high and weighs 16 tons.
XuXiake, in his travel notes, described the original bell
like this: "This bell is extremely large, about one Zhang
(a unit of length equals 3. 3 meters) in diameter, nearly
one Chi (a unit of length equals 0. 33 meters) thick, and
its sound reaches 18 Li (a Chinese unit of length equals 500
meters)." In 1999, when Macao was returned to China,
the Bronze Rain Statue of the Goddess of Mercy was recast
and the Hall of the Goddess of Mercy was rebuilt to store
it. The Bronze Statue of the Goddess of Mercy is 8.2 meters
high and weighs 11 tons. On the second flour of the hall,
the eye-catching imitations of the two treasured scroll paintings
named "Picture Record of nanzhao Kingdom" and "Buddhist
Picture Scroll Painting by Zhang Shengwen" are hung on
each side of the wall reflecting the historical and religious
culture of the mysterious Kingdom of Dali.
Temple was first built in the mid to late stages of
Nanzhao Kingdom when Buddhism began to flourish. According
to historical record, Chongsheng Temple "covered
an area of 7 square li, had three pavilions, seven towers
and nine halls. 890 rooms and 11, 400 Buddha statues".
During Dali Kingdom, nine of its kings abdicated in
succession and became abbots in this temple. Thus Dali
was known at that time as " the Kingdom of Buddhism"
or "Miaoxiang Kingdom (the Kingdom of Buddhist
Sutra)", while the splendid imperial Chongsheng
Temple was renowned as " Capital of Buddhism"
and became the largest Buddhist temple in Southeast
Asia. The grand and splendid scene of this temple has
been described by Xu Xiake, a famous traveler of the
Ming Dynasty, in his travelogue about Dali.
The temple was destroyed in the wars during the Qing Dynasty.
Only the three pagodas survived. The Dali local government
had been trying to rebuild Chongsheng Temple so the pagodas
would no longer be without a temple. The enormous project
of rebuilding Chongsheng Temple got started after the recasting
of the Jianji Bell and the rebuilding of the Hall of the Bronze
Rain Statue of the Goddess of Mercy. The construction work
was completed in 2005, and on July 12, 2006, a big Kaiguang
Buddhist ceremony was held in Chongsheng Temple to unveil
and bless the temple.
The newly built Chongsheng Temple covers
an area of 40 hectares. It is arranged along a main axis and
two auxiliary axes. Lying in proper order along the main axis
are the Gate to the Temple, Heavenly Kings, Maitreya, Eleven-faced
Goddess of Mercy, and Great Hero Halls, the Pavilion of Achuoyie
Goddess of Mercy, Mountain-Lake Grand View Stone Archway,
and the Lake Viewing Tower. Along the two auxiliary axes are
Arhat, Eminent Monks (the nine kings who became monks), Founders
(six founders of the Zen sect), and Heavenly Kings Halls,
and Institute of Buddhism.
The restored Chongsheng Temple has many
"bests" among the temples in modern China. Its 4
kilometer-long axis is the longest of any temple axis in China;
the Hall of the Great Hero of the temple, at 51. 7 meters
wide and 26 meters high, is the largest Buddhist hall of its
kind in China. It has the largest number of gilded Buddha
images, based on "Zhang Shengwen Scroll Painting".
The temple also has 500 statues from Kunming's Bamboo Temple.
Its 599 Buddha images are all gilded bronze. The woodcarving
on the walls of its Hall of the Great Hero, the "Zhang
Shengwen Scroll Painting", is 117 meters long and 18
meters high, the largest one of its kind in the world. The
pestle of Buddha's warrior attendant in this temple, which
is 6 meters long and I meter in diameter, is the largest pestle
in the world. Finally, the drum in its drum tower, which is
3.1meters in diameter, is the largest drum in Chinese Buddhist
Day Private Yunnan Dali Tour To Three Pagodas, Xizhou Village, Dali Old Town,
Dali Ancient City
Tie Dying Cloth with
Dali Tourist Street
Pagoda In Hongshengsi
Remains Of Taihe City
Stone Tablet In Memory
Of Kublai Khan's Conquest Of Yunnan