The Three Pagodas about 1.2km away from the North Gate of Dali Ancient City is a remarkable landmark of Dali. The first building year of Three Pagodas can be date back to the time of Nanzhao Kingdom in 10th century, replying a very long history of more than 1,380 year till now. If you look at it from a distance, the pagodas are like three giant ballpoint pens breaking up the landscape of the never-ending mountains and emerald rice fields of Yunnan.
Chongsheng Temple lying quietly on the back of Three Pagodas is another treasure of Dali. It is the largest and most grand temple cluster in Dali. In history, there were altogether 9 Dali emperors gave up their status and became a monk at Chongsheng Temple.
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Three Pagodas and the old temple group of Chongsheng Temple, of course, are the main reasons attracted tourists to visit this sacred place of The Three Pagodas Scenic Area. Besides, once you climbing up to the top of temple area, you will be rewarded with a panorama view of Dali City and Erhai Lake.
The Three Pagodas are made of one big pagoda and two small pagodas, forming a symmetric triangle. The Three Pagodas are made of brick and covered with white mud. The purpose of Three Pagodas, as so often in China, is to magically guard against natural disasters, particularly earthquakes and floods, as per the four-character inscription on the tall pagoda: "Forever Control Mountains and Rivers."
The main pagoda is known as Qianxun Pagoda which was first built during 823-840 AD by King Quan Fengyou of Nanzhao Kingdom. Qianxun Pagoda is square shaped and stands 69.4 meters high. The appearance of Qianxun Pagoda is much similar with the Small Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian, Songyue Temple Pagoda is Dengfeng and While Horse Temple Pagoda in Luoyang. Qianxun Pagoda has sixteen stories and each story has multiple tiers of upturned eaves and a carved shrine containing a while marble sitting Buhhda statue.
The other two sibling pagodas, at 42.19 meters high, stand to the northwest and southwest of Qianxun Pagoda and they are octagonal with ten multi-eave pent roofs. From their structure and shape, the two small pagodas should be built in the Dali Kingdom of the Song Dynasty style.
To well-protect the pagodas, tourists are now forbidden to step inside them. However, standing in front these sublime pagodas is enough to get you moved and surprised. If possible, please go with an experienced local guide, and then you will get more insider stories of pagodas.
Chongsheng Temple complex is located behind the Three Pagodas which was the royal temple of Dali and one of t 6he largest Buddhist centers in Southeast Asia. There are many sites to explore in front of Chongsheng Monastery and in the monastery.
Walk behind Three Pagodas you'll reach Dapeng Golden Wing Bird Square and see the Golden Wing Bird and explore the biggest bell in Yunnan - Nanzhao Jianji Bell which was built in 871 AD. Entering into the temple, you'll pass many Buddhist prayer halls, like Daxiongbao Hall, Medicine Hall, Caishen Hall, Maitreya Hall, Arhat Hall, Prayer Wheel, Thousan Buddha Hall, the Hall of Patriarch and finally reach Wanghai Tower where all the temple complex, the Three Pagodas, Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake can be seen.
Behind the Three Pagodas, there is a Reflection Pond which got its name from the graceful clear reflections on the water of the Three Pagodas of Chongsheng Temple. The authentic Three Pagodas and the reflections create a fantastic pictures - six pagodas in one scene. Travelers, especially photographers, should cover the Reflection Pond into your visit for some awesome pictures.
Three Pagodas and Chongsheng Temple share a same entrance and ticket. They are located 1.5 kilometers northwest of Dali Ancient City. It is situated at the east foot of Yingle Peak of the massive Cangshan Mountain and faced the west shore of Erhai Lake of Dali. There are two rivers flowing through, one is Tao Stream in the east and Mei Stream in the north. Travelers can feel free to use our private car taking to Three Pagodas in Dali. If you are independent travelers, you can take bus or go by walking.
Dali Old Town - Three Pagodas Sightseeing Tourist Bus: The direct sightseeing buses between Dali Old Town Tourist Center and Chongsheng Three Pagodas are available during 08:30~17:30. It only needs 10 minutes for the drive.
Daili Old Town North Gate - Three Pagodas: Travelers can take 20~30 minutes' walk from the North Gate of Dali Old Town to Three Pagodas. Buses also available and you can take No.19 bus from the North Gate to Three Pagoda Park.
Battery cars in the tourist area are available in several spots - Entrance Gate, Reflection Pond, Daxiongbao Hall, Wanghai Tower. It takes 25 Yuan for battery cars. However, most of the tourists prefer to explore the scenic area by walking.
Dali Old Town is a historic town with rich culture located between Cangshan Mountain and Erhai Lake with profound Bai culture. Wander in the old town to have leisure exploration about city gates, old towers, old streets, temples, churches, museums, shops and bars...
Cangshan Mountain (Mt. Cangshan), located west of Dali Old Town and Erhai Lake, is with nineteen peaks and eighteen streams. Travelers can take cableways to reach the top of Cangshan Mountain or explore the breathtaking scenery along Jade Cloud Road.
Erhai Lake (Ear-shaped Sea), reputed as "Pearl of Plateau", is the second largest highland lake of Yunnan. Taking a boat and cycling around the lake are fantastic ways to explore "Silver Cangshan Mountain and Jade Erhai Lake" scenery.
Best Dali Highlights Tours:
Photographers should catch the best scenery of Three Pagodas and Chongsheng Temple in two famous spots - the Reflection Pond and Wanghai Tower. The Reflection Pond is a good site to capture full-face photo, pagoda, blue sky and white cloud reflection in the water, in this way, “the six pagodas” would get into your pictures. Standing on the top of Wanghai Tower, travelers can capture full view of Three Pagodas and Chongsheng Temple in a line and Erhai Lake from afar.
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