China Dali attractions, Three Pagodas of Chongshen Monastery introduced.

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Three Pagodas of Chongshen Monastery

The Three Pagodas of Chongshen Monastery is located 1.5 km to the north of the ancient city of Dali, backing to Yingle Peak of Cangshan Mountain in the west and facing the miles green waves of Erhai Lake in the east.
The Three Pagodass are symbol and landmark of Dali and a record of the development of Buddhism in the area, an important humanism sight in the historical, cultural and national star level excellent city for tourism. It is also the oldest and grandest buildings in south of China. As its name implies, Three Pagodas are made of three ancient independent pagodas forming a symmetrical triangle. This is unique in China. A visit to theThree Pagodas should not be missed by any visitor to Dali City.

The Three Pagodas of Chongshen Monastery is composed with one bigger and two smaller towers. The bigger and middle one is also called Qianxun Tower, which was a square tower of brick with eaves that was first built in the regime of Quanfengyou of Nanzhao . This is a Tang style 16 floor tower, standing on a two floor base, 69.13 meter high. The first floor is 13.45 meter high, the highest floor with 3.3 meter thick wall. Floors from the second to the fifteenth are built in the same way and in similar size. The sixteenth floor is the cap floor. Take the second floor as an example; it is 2 meter high and 10 meter wide with overlapping eaves. The 17 layers brick projects outward from 5 centimeter to 7 centimeter. The four corners on each eave projects out upward. In the middle of the west and east outside wall of the tower, there are is a Buddha niche, in which seated a Buddha statue. On each side of the niche, there is a smaller niche with lotus base, hip roof and a sutra tablet in Sanskrit. In the middle of the south and north outside wall, there is a window like tunnel connecting to the center of the tower. On the third floor, the niches are in the south and north side, while the window like tunnel in the west and east side. Each floor above alternates. The tower body shrinks upward. The cap floor is 8 meter high, about 1/7 of the tower. On the top seated a treasure bottle in the shape of gourd cast of copper. Under the bottle, there is an eight angle treasure cover with four angles projecting out. Wind shifter is fixed above a iron framed copper covered wheel and a Buddha vessel on lotus base. Qianxun Tower is empty with a simple wood ladder reaching the roof, through the windows people can get a whole view of the ancient city.

The two smaller towers were built in the regime of Duan Zhengyan, Duan Zhengxing of Dali in taper shape, typical Song style building. The two 42.19 meter high tower stands 97 meter away to each other. They are 10 floor high, eight angled brick tower with eaves on a two floor base. On the eight-angled eaves were built wood structure like arch, even base and tower like niche in various shapes. The Buddha statue, lotus, vase, and relief vary on each floor. It is empty with straight wall from the first to the eighth floor with a supporting cross inside it. The base is also in eight angle shape. The last two floors have no space in them.
The Three Pagodas of Chongshen Monastery suffered thousands years of wind and rain as well as over 30 violent earthquakes. The towers were built perpendicularly but leaned away from the vertical line over 400 years till now. Three Pagodas, Zhaozhou Bridge of Hebei Province, and Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, Shaanxi Province, are three curiosities of Chinese ancient architecture.