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 Yingxian Wooden Pagoda

Yingxian Wooden Pagoda

Written by Candice SongUpdated Feb. 8, 2021

Yingxian Wooden Pagoda was built in 1056 during the Liao Dynasty (916–1125),75km from Datong.It is the oldest all-wood pagoda in China, as well as the only Buddhist temple that was totally built with wood.It is also called Sakyamuni Pagoda of Fogong Temple.

It is the tallest all-wood pagoda in the world.

Standing at 67.31 meters (220’8”) tall with a base diameter of 30.27 meters, the total pagoda weighs about 7,400 metric tons. By comparison, Yingxian Wooden Pagodais some 30 meters higher than the famous White Pagoda in Beijing's Beihai Park. And it almost 3 meters higher than the Big Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi'an.

It was constructed with wood without any nails.

Yingxian Wooden PagodaYingxian Wooden Pagoda

As a masterpiece of Chinese timber construction, Yingxian Wooden Pagoda is octagonal in shape, and was built without the help of a single nail, screw, or bolt. Its unique construction employs fifty-four different kinds of bracket arms.

It is one of the most complex examples of roof construction in China, and, indeed, in the world. Certainly, it is the most complex example of roof construction of any building constructed during the Liao Dynasty.

It's a nine-story temple, actually.

This pagoda appears to have five floors from the outside. But actually it is nine-story. There is a hidden floor every two floors.Each floor is adorned with a plump and amiable statue of Buddha. The four-faceted Buddha symbolizes the infinite knowledge and wisdom of Buddha. It is said that his gaze can pierce any object, or "see through" appearances to the core, as it were.

There are windows on all eight sides of the pagoda, offering excellent views of the surrounding countryside. The windows also provide excellent ventilation to protect the wood from dampness and insect damage.

Yingxian Wooden PagodaYingxian Wooden Pagoda

How to Plan Your Visit

  • Opening hours: 07: 00–19:00
  • Location: in the village of Yingxian in Shanxi Province, about 75 kilometers (47 miles) south of Datong
  • Recommended visiting time: 1 hour

Since it is a long drive from Datong City to Yingxian, we can offer private transport and an experienced tour guide for you to get the most from your trip. Our customizable 4-Day Essence of Datong and Pingyao Tour itinerary includes Yingxian Wooden Pagoda.

If you do not want such a long drive, but really want to see the best pagodas in China, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice on a tailor-made tour.

Further Reading

Buddhism is a major religion in China. It has deeply affected Chinese culture, and there are many Buddhist attractions that you can visit. Our Buddhism in China page will help you have a better understanding.

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