Liuhe Ta, Six Harmonies Pagoda, was once a seven-storey stone pagoda, but later a 13-story wooden pagoda was built around the outside enclosing the wooden structure. The top level, accessed by a spiral staircase in the stone pagoda, offers a fine view of the surrounding mountains, the Qiantang River and Qiantang River Great Bridge, which is the largest double-decker (road above, rail below) bridge built by China. The ceiling of each level is carved and painted with flowers, birds and animals in an elegant and delicate style.
Six Harmonies Pagoda is named after nearby Six Harmonies Temple, but it could be said there are six harmonies within the structure itself where the 7-story inner pagoda harmonizes with the 13-story outer pagoda.
History & Background
Six Harmonies Pagoda (Liuhe Pogoda) is one of the true masterpieces of ancient Chinese architecture. According to historic accounts, the pagoda was constructed first in 970 by the King of Wuyue, who ruled the area that is today made up of Jiangsu, Zhejiang and Fujian provinces. The purpose for building the pagoda was to calm the tidal waters of the Qiantang River, aid in navigation.
The 9-storeyed pagoda is more than 50 zhang (1 zhang = 3.33meters) high, steep and grand. Bright lamps were installed on the top for guide the ships to sail in the dark nights. In the third year (1121) of the Xuanhe reign, the Six Harmonies Pagoda was destroyed by the war. The existing brick body was rebuilt in the 26th year (1156) of the Shaoxing reign of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279). The project was not completed until the first year (1165) of the Qianbao reign. The Six Harmonies Pagoda has 13 layers of wooden eaves that were rebuilt in the 26th year (1900) of the Guangxu reign of the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Six storeys of it are close, and the seventh storey leads to the inside. From outside to inside, the pagoda is divided into four parts: the outer wall, the cloister, the inner wall and a small room, forming two rings. Inside the inner ring is the small room at the heart of the pagoda; the outer ring is the thick wall; between two rings is the corridor, and the stairs are in the corridor. A leaning pole is fixed at the corner of outer wall, connected with the wood eaves. Doors are opened in each side of the wall. Because the wall is 4.12-meter thick, each door has a corridor with wall niches on both sides.
The niches have pedestals. The passageway leads to the cloister. Four doors and four niches alternate with each other on the eight sides of the inner wall. The 4.2-meter-thick inner wall has doors with a corridor each, leading to the small room at the heart. The niches are carved with The Sutra of Forty-Two Sections. The small room was originally set for the statue of Buddha; it is an exquisite building intimating wood structure. The molds of the Hu Gate in the Six Harmonies Pagoda are typical style of the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279), with smooth lines and round and beautiful design. The seventh storey and the pagoda spire were built in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
On the pedestal of the Six Harmonies Pagoda, there are more than 200 vivid brick carvings that contain wide-range subjects: pomegranate, lotuses, phoenixes, peacocks and parrots flying in the sky, lions, kylins (unicorn) galloping and jumping, and fairy maiden dancing high-spiritedly, etc. These brick carvings tally with the record in Ying Zao Fa Shi (Constructing Molds and Styles) of the Song Dynasty. They are valuable material in the history of China's ancient buildings.
The Six Harmonies Pagoda is one of the famous sceneries in Hangzhou City. When travelers come here, they can not only enjoy the heroic posture of the pagoda, but also get some idea of the views on the Qiantang River. Therefore, a number of scholars and poets in the past wrote poems and lyrics about them.
Admission: RMB 20 (extra RMB 10 to climb the pagoda)
Hours: 6:00am-6:30pm daily
How to get there:
Located at 16 Zhijiang Lu, 之江路16号. Bus nos. 2, K4, 308, 504 or tourist bus 5 will get your there. Hop off at the Liùhé Tǎ (六和塔) stop.
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