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Home Hangzhou Attractions Ten Classic Views of West Lake Leifeng Xizhao

Leifeng Xizhao (Evening Sunglow at Leifeng Pagoda) Introduction


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Leifeng Xizhao(雷峰夕照, Evening Sunglow at Leifeng Pagoda) ranks the seventh of ten top classic scenes of Hangzhou West Lake. The specific site is located on the south side of West Lake and on the hill of Xizhao Hill, in front of the famous Jingci Temple, the scene of the afterglow covering the pagoda makes a show of the Buddha light illuminating the entire world. In 975, Leifeng Pagoda was built by Qian Chu, the last king of Wuyue Kingdom, to celebrate the birth of son of Concubine Huang, so it was originally named Concubine Huang Pagoda. Due to its location at the outside of west pass, it was called west pass brick-built pagoda as well. Originally built 13 floors, finally only five floors were built because of the short supply of finance.

In the reign of Emperor Jiajing in Ming Dynasty, the short Japanese invaders intruded into China and burnt down the pagoda. In late period of Ming Dynasty, Wen Qixiang(闻启祥, a famous figure in Hangzhou) used to give a high comment on Leifeng Pagoda together with Baochu Pagoda, like this – There are two pagodas around the West Lake scenic area, and Leifeng Pagoda looks like a old monk, but Baochu Pagoda like a beauty. In Qing Dynasty, the pagoda was reconstructed, and the landscape was grand and impressive, and the sunglow covers the pagoda, and the shadows of the pagoda reflect on the surface of the lake. Since Emperor Kangxi inscribed the stele of Leifeng Xizhao and erected it near to the site. Subsequently, there was a hearsay that the bricks of the pagoda could prevent the evils, and many people stole the bricks from the pagoda. In 1924, the pagoda was collapsed. And the famous sutra of Buddhism like(一切如来心秘密全身舍利宝箧印陀罗尼经, The Sutra Of Casket Seal Dharani From The Secret Whole Bodies’ Relics Of All Buddha’s hearts), which was the most famous historic classic excavated from the underground palace of Leifeng Pagoda.

The widespread fame of Leifeng Pagoda is closely connected with a folklore named the Legend of the Lady White Snake. It was said that Monk Fa Hai beat down Lady White Snake into the pagoda, and attached a curse onto the pagoda that the Leifeng Pagoda would not fall until the whole west lake gets dry. The legend of the Lady White Snake has a long history for spreading and boasts one of four most famous folk love stories in China (the other three are Liang Shanbo and Zhu Yingtai, Meng Jiangnv, Niulang and Zhinv), also it was ranked into the first batch of national intangible cultural heritage sites in China. In 1992, the TV series named New Version of Legend of Lady White Snake(新白娘子传奇) mainly acted by beauties named Zhao Yazhi(赵雅芝, the actress playing Lady White Snake) and Ye Tong(叶童, the actress playing Xu Xian, the husband of Lady White Snake) was widely popular nationwide. Thanks to this TV series, the scene of Evening Sunglow at Leifeng Pagoda gets more famous and influential in the world, and even becomes a calling card of Hangzhou.

The transportation – visitors can take K4, Y1, Y2, Y3, Y6, Y7, Y9, J5, K504 and K808 to the bus station of Jingci temple.

The poem named Leifeng Xizhao of ten classic scenes of West Lake Scenic Area(湖山十景•雷峰夕照) was written by Wang Wei(王洧) in Song Dynasty. The translation of the poem hereinafter:

塔影初收日色昏-The shadow of the pagoda gets declined and the afterglow gets stronger.
隔墙人语近甘园-The people’s voices of the next room is closer to the Ganyuan Garden
南山游遍分归路-The travelers ending the visits in South Hill say goodbye for going along the different ways
半入钱唐半暗门-half goes to Qiantang, and half to Anmen

There is another poem themed with Leifeng Pagoda written by Yin Tinggao(尹廷高), a poem of Yuan Dynasty, and the translation of the poem hereinafter:

烟光山色淡溟蒙-The misty light and the color of the mountain get weakened in far scenes
千尺浮图兀倚空-The thousand inches pagoda backs on the sky
湖上画船归欲尺-The decorated cruises on the lake return late
孤峰犹带夕阳红-The solitary peak still keeps some red of the setting sun

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Editor: Julius from Mildchina
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