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Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion, Xishuangbanna

Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion, Xishuangbanna

Written by Sunny XieUpdated Oct. 8, 2023

An important cultural site of Xishuangbanna, Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion is named after its shape and location in Jingzhen (景真 'Scenic True') village. The octagonal pavilion, called Wo Su in the Dai language, is where senior Buddhist monks practice sutras, pray, hold meetings, and memorize Buddhist scriptures.

Scroll down for interesting facts about Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion and travel tips.

Jingzhen Octagonal PavilionJingzhen Octagonal Pavilion

Basic Facts about Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion

  • Chinese: 景真八角亭 Jǐngzhēn Bājiǎotíng /jing-jnn baa-jyao-ting/ 'Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion'
  • Location: 73 kilometers west of Jinghong, city seat of Xishuangbanna
  • Recommended visit duration: 1–3 hours
  • Open: 8:00am to 6:00pm
  • Suited to: anyone who loves Buddhist culture, history, photography, or architecture
Paintings at Jingzhen Octagonal PavilionPaintings at Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion

The History of Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion

The Octagonal Pavilion is an accessory building of the important Walazhatan Buddhist temple in Jingzhen village. The pavilion was built by Buddhists there to commemorate the Buddha Sakyamuni, based on the legendary shape of his golden silk hat.

During its history of over 300 years, the pavilion has acted as a hall of meditation. It was built in 1701 (year 1063 of the Dai calendar or the 40th year of Emperor Kangxi of the Qing Dynasty), and now it is a nationally protected building.

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The Features of Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion

With a novel and magnificent shape, the octagonal pavilion is Xishuangbanna's most marvelous example of Hinayana Buddhist and Dai minority architecture.

Constructed from red brick and stone, the octagonal pavilion consists of five parts: the stone base, the hall, the eaves, the panels, and the roof.

The Hall of Meditation

The hall has a "ya-shaped" outer appearance (the main hall area is said to resemble the Chinese character "亚", pronounced ya), i.e. multi-columned with two prominent central columns at the front entrance and clear base and roof lines.

The pavilion is 21 meters high including the roof, and the hall is about 5 meters high and 10 meters in diameter. Eight large decorative panels and 31 small decorative panels adorn the 32 square columns and 24 walls that form the pavilion hall. It has four doors to the north, south, east, and west, which are decorated with Dai minority designs.

The Hall of MeditationThe Hall of Meditation

The Front Arch

The front entranceway has an arch, above which is a niche with a Buddha sculpture. The doors are made from the red wood of Chinese toon trees and are decorated with Dai-style sunflowers and playing double dragons. A wooden staircase inside connects with the stone steps in front of the gate, where a fierce lion sculpture stands on one side and a holy dragon sculpture on the other.

The Octagonal Roof

The roof of the pavilion is made of wood, and its complex ten-layered architecture is in the shape of an octagonal cone. The roof is supported by twelve 10-meter-long beams, and its layers are covered by tiles forming eaves that look just like fish scales.

The Octagonal RoofThe Octagonal Roof

The Great Bodhi Tree

What's more, the beauty of the octagonal is enhanced by the tall and spreading green Bodhi tree, towering over all, located between the Octagonal Pavilion and the Jingzhen Temple. The tree is so large that six or seven people are needed to stand hand in hand around the trunk.

Cannot wait to see this cultural masterpiece? Take a look at our sample 6-Day Xishuangbanna and Pu'er Tour, which can be customized to include a trip out to Jingzhen, or contact our travel consultants to tailor-make your Banna tour.

The Great Bodhi TreeThe Great Bodhi Tree

Best Times to Visit Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion

The best time to visit Jingzhen is during dry season: from October to April.

Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion is one of the main sites for local people to celebrate the Water Splashing Festival from April 13 to 15 each year. Contact our Xishuangbanna expert for tour recommendations so that you do not miss this big event.

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Touring Xishuangbanna with China Highlights

Jingzhen Octagonal Pavilion is part of Walazhatan, the central Buddhist temple of the Jingzhen region, and has a rich history and culture. It would be more interesting and easier to visit it with a professional guide. China Highlights can help you customize a worry-free tour to visit Jingzhen and other highlights of Banna.

Here is a fully-customizable sample tour plan, which you could start from:

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