The historic city of Dali in southwestern China has a magnificent skyline, dominated by the Chongsheng Three Pagodas. The three pagodas, or tiered, eaved towers, were part of the former Chongsheng Temple. They stand between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake and considered a Chinese national treasure to be preserved.
The three pagodas are three separate shrines to Buddha. They mark the corners of a symmetrical triangle and can be seen from miles away – the highest of the three is Qianxun Pagoda which is 16 stories high and tops more than 227 feet. The original Chongsheng Temple was destroyed in a fire almost 1000 years ago, but was rebuilt in 2005 in conjunction with the pagodas’ preservation efforts.
What to Expect
The newly-built Daoying Park, just south of the pagodas, is considered one of the best places to take pictures of the stately Chongsheng Three Pagodas. Bring lunch and a blanket to have a picnic in the sight of the breathtaking beauty of the skyline. Or try to position yourself and your camera to make best use of the Juying Chi, or Reflection Pond, behind the pagodas for great, symmetrical pictures. Either way, make sure to bring your camera with you on your visit since the best part of the pagodas is the pictures they create.
Nearby on the marble street, there are plenty of workshops and craft shops selling a variety of marble and brick-painting memorabilia and keepsakes. A large number of pictures, postcards and statues of the pagodas, especially, are available here for souvenirs.
The admission fee for going to the Chongsheng Three Pagodas site itself costs 120 yen, but the pagodas are best enjoyed in conjunction with a tour of other historically important sites. There are walking tours of Dali that will take you past the three pagodas, as well as a number of other historical Dali attractions for as little as 160 yen a person.
Hours of Operation
The pagodas are open to the public from 8 a.m. to 7 p.m. and an average visit is about two hours. When visiting at night, the pagodas are lit up to create an illumination skyline.