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Baochu Pagoda

Baochu pagoda_02.jpgBaochu Pagoda is located on the north side of West Lake on the top of Precious Stone Hill. Also known as Baochu Pagoda, it is generally thought to have been built over one thousand years ago in the Later Zhou Dynasty of the Five Dynasties( 948AD-960AD). In ancient times, the pagoda was repaired six times in the Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasties. In the 54th year of Qianlong( 1789AD), a broken stele recording Wu Yanshuang's construction of the pagoda was found. The record said that the original pagoda had seven layers of wooden eaves. The pagoda we see now was rebuilt in accordance with the original in 1933, the 22nd year of the Republic od China. In 1997, the rusty spire was replaced.


Why was Baochu Pagoda built and how did it get its name? There are several different local stories that provide some answers. The first explanation is that in 976AD in the Song Dynasty, King Qian Chu of the Wuyue Kingdom heard that the Southern Tang had been eliminated by the Song Dynasty. He became very frightened and went to the court of the Song Dynasty with his family. With good reason, he was afraid that his family would be detained in the capital, so he made a vow before the Buddha that if the Buddha would guarantee the safe return of him and his family, he would build a pagoda to redeem the vow. When Qian Chu arrived in the capital, the Emperor treated him well by giving him a house and very generous rewards. After staying for two months, the Emperor allowed him to return to Hangzhou. Before leaving, the Emperor gave him a thick sealed yellow book and told him to open it in private on the journey. When Qian Chu opend it, he found inside were all the memeorials from the ministers advising the Emperor to keep Qian Chu in the capital. Qian Chu was moved but also frightened. Upon his return, he had the pagoda built to redeem his vow and give thanks to the Buddha for his blessing. This is one reason why it is called " Baochu Pagoda".

baochu pagoda_03.jpgA second expalnation is that Wu Yanshuang built the pagoda to pray for the king's safe return. According to legend, in the first year of Kaiyuan in the Northern Song Dynasty(968AD), the king of the Wuyue Kingdom was summoned by Song Taizu to the capital and did not return for a long time. This made Wu Yanshuang, the Prime Minister and uncle of Qian Hongchu very anxious. He discussed with the ministers about what to do. But as the Northern Song Dynasty had just eliminated the Southern Tang Dynasty the Wu Yue Kingdom was restricted to a small region. It did not have the resources to resist the Song Dynasty armies. The ministers were afriad that the consequences would be disastrous if a resistance movement was launched. They were all at thier wits end. Finally, they look a decision to build a pagoda to ask the Buddha to bless King Qian Hongchu, where upon Wu Yanshuang had nine storey pagoda built on Preious Stone Hill, which became known as" Baochu Pagoda". Before long, the king did return safely.

West Lake has many pagoda around it. But the most famous ones are Baochu Pagoda and Leifeng Pagoda on the top of the Precious Stone Hill and the Leifeng Peak respectively, facing each other across the lake.

Information:
Location: Baoshi Mountain, Xihu District, Hangzhou
Adimission: Free
Hours: All day
Transportation:Take buss 51, 52, 27, 7 and get off at Geling Station.

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