In the Zhou, we’ve got three major pagodas: Baochu to the north of the lake; Leifeng at the south; and Liuhe (Six Harmonies) all the way to the east on the river. Of the three, Six Harmonies is the most genuine. But it’s not really the fault of Leifeng. It fell down when Green Snake rescued White Snake who had been imprisoned underneath by the evil monk/spirit slayer Fahai. Rat bastard! Ahhhh, what soap operatic lore surrounds this beautiful lake. We won’t tell you the beginning or the end of the story, mainly because we don’t have the space, and damn it, you people have internet.
Let’s get to what really happened to this pagoda. First of all, ever since it actually collapsed in 1924 (not because of some super powerful spirit mama but because of locals stealing its bricks to make magic medicine), there had been much discussion about rebuilding it. They finally did, and it was opened to the public in 2002. The new structure is built over the carcass of the old, which is visible on the first floor (after you get off the escalator – yeah, and there’s an elevator too). The original pagoda was built in 975AD by a Wuyue king, Qian Hongchu, to honor his favorite concubine, Huangfei, for giving him a son (how romantic). Around four hundred years later, invaders set fire to it, leaving nothing but a shell for people to pillage. According to legend, along with some ancient Buddhist scriptures, the bones and hair of Sakyamuni had been stored there. You can still see the Pure Silver Pagoda of King Asoka containing Sakyamuni’s hair, so all’s not lost. Also, there are great views of the lake once you get to the top, and the whole area is fairly quiet if you go during the week. Fit Leifeng Pagoda into a south side visit of the lake, and you can finish the trip off by sipping some tea at the traditional teahouse, Leifeng Ge, right next door.
Ticket: 40RMB, 20RMB/children under 1.3m
Busses: K4, K504, K514, K808, 822, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y6, Y7, Y9