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Tower of Fragrant Buddha

2015-12-22 13:59:36Share:

  The symbolic structure, the Tower of Fragrant Buddha tops the high grand towers of both the Summer Palace and the "three mountains and five gardens" (Longevity Hill, Jade Spring Mountain, and Fragrant Hill; Garden of Clear Ripples, Garden of Everlasting Spring, Garden of Perfection and Brightness, Garden of Tranquility and Brightness, and Garden of Tranquility and Pleasure). Set up on the 21-meter-high (68.9-foot-high) base steps of the front slope of Longevity Hill and towering to a height of 41 meters (134.5 feet), it can be seen from throughout the area. Facing Kunming Lake southward, backing on the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom, it was flanked by symmetrical buildings. With eight porticos, three levels and four layered eaves, the front part imitates the Yellow Crane Tower in Hubei Province. It is the elite tower among treasured ancient structures.

 

  A nine-level pagoda at the tower's location was planned which Emperor Qianlong (1711-1799) ordered to be dismantled during the construction of the eighth level. After the unfinished pagoda, there stood the Tower of Buddhist Incense instead in 1758. Unfortunately, it was ruined by Anglo-French forces in 1860; then rebuilt during1891-1894, at a cost of 780,000 taels of silver. Inside is a gilded statue of the thousand-handed Kwan-yin. Set off by eight pillars, it glows with sacred beauty. On the first day and fifteenth day of the lunar month, the Empress Dowager Cixi would go there to pray and burn joss sticks. In 1989, the Tower of Buddhist Incense was opened to the public. It is now undergoing reconstruction, the largest such project in modern China, costing 50,000,000 yuan with a planned completion date in 2006.

 

  There are eight big ironwood pillars supporting the tower. It has a plaque hanging in each level of the tower. A gilded statue of the thousand-handed Kwan-yin Buddha stands inside on the first floor, which has important historical, cultural and artistic value. According to the record, this statue, five meters high and five tons in weight, was cast in bronze and gilded with gold during the reign of Emperor Wanli of the Ming Dynasty. There is a rubbing hanging in the middle, which records the inscription written by Emperor Qianlong. The excavation process of Kunming Lake is mentioned in the rubbing.

 

  In 1989, the Tower of Buddhist Incense was opened to the public, and underwent reconstruction in 2006. The Tower of Buddhist Incense now retains its original beauty as it was in the celebration of Empress Dowager Cixi’ 60th birthday. Please note: the ticket of Tower of Buddhist Incense, together with the Hall of Dispelling Clouds, is an individual scenic spot excluded in the admission fee of the Summer Palace.

 

  On the north (back) of the Tower of Buddhist Incense is a colored glazed archway, called Fo Xiang Jie, literally the Realm of Popular Fragrance. It leads to the way to the building complex on the highest point of the Longevity Hill, - Hall of the Sea of Wisdom.

 

  To visit this place (together with the Hall of Dispelling Clouds), an additional charge of CNY 10 is necessary for those visitors who hold Summer Palace entrance tickets, but not necessary for through ticket holders.