Wuta Si (Five Pagoda Temple)

Address: Wutasi Road Haidian Dis.
Entrance Fee: 20 RMB

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Introduction

The construction of Wuta Si (Five Pagoda Temple) began within year 1403 to 1424 of Ming Dynasty. The whole construction of the temple was completed in year 1473 and was firstly named as Zhenjue Temple (Temple of True Awakening) and later renamed as Dazhengjue Temple (Temple of Great Righteous Awakening). Anyway, the temple is generally name as Wuta Si (Five Pagoda Temple) by the locals. The pagoda is in fact in the style of Indian temple but the structure of the pagoda had been inserted with very strong style of Chinese architecture. For example, the throne foundation was raised and the height of the pagodas was reduced, and typical Chinese glazed tiles were used to decorate the structure as well. Thus, the pagoda is exactly the best evidence for the fellowship between ancient China and foreign cultures.

The building was designed strictly according to the Buddhist terminology especially the structure of the five pagodas stand on top of the square foundation is known as the “diamond throne pagoda” style. According to the historical records, an Indian monk had introduced this architectural form to China in the early 15th century. Soon after that, Zhenjue Temple was built here. The temple had been renovated twice in the reign of Emperor Qianlong of Qing Dynasty. During the first renovation in Qing Dynasty, the temple was renamed as Dazhengjue Temple (Temple of Great Righteous Awakening) in order to prevent similar pronunciation of the name of temple with the name of Emperor Yongzheng. The second time of renovation project was taken place during the 70th birthday of Empress Dowager during that period. Anyway, most of the wooden structures of the temple were destroyed in the late Qing Dynasty first by Anglo-French Allied Armies in 1860 and again by the Eight-Power Allied Force in 1900. Nowadays, only monumental diamond throne pagoda is still available here waiting for your visit.

The square throne foundation is at 17 meters high with five pagodas rise on top of it. Each of the corners was built with one eleven-eave-pagoda and the fifth which is slightly higher with thirteen eaves in the center. The entire structure was made of white marble but after oxidation for over 500 years, the flecks of iron in the stone have given the structure a pale orange case. The four walls of the foundation are carved with rows of Buddha (the One Thousand Sagacious Buddha) as well as bas-reliefs of Buddhist symbols, floral designs and Sanskrit letters. The five pagodas are also covered with similar carvings on a small scale.

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