Top Ten Pagodas

Top Ten Pagodas

       A pagoda is the general term in the English language for a tiered tower, built in the traditions originating in historic East Asia or with respect to those traditions, with multiple eaves common in Nepal, India, China, Japan, Korea, Vietnam, Burma and other parts of Asia. Some pagodas are used as Taoist houses of worship. Most pagodas were built to have a religious function, most commonly Buddhist, and were often located in or near temples. This term may refer to other religious structures in some countries. In Vietnam and Cambodia, due to French translation, the English term pagoda is a more generic term referring to a place of worship, although pagoda is not an accurate word to describe a Buddhist temple. The modern pagoda is an evolution of the Ancient Nepal stupa, a tomb-like structure where sacred relics could be kept safe and venerated. The architectural structure of the stupa has spread across Asia, taking on many diverse forms as details specific to different regions are incorporated into the overall design.

  1. Shwedagon Pagoda

    No one knows exactly when the Shwedagon Paya (or Pagoda) in Myanmar was built, but legend has it that it is 2,500 years old though archaeologists estimate that it was built between the 6th and 10th century. Now, when people say “golden temple” they usually mean that the structure is golden in color. But when it comes to the Shwedagon Pagoda, golden literally means covered in gold! In the 15th century, a queen of the Mon people donated her weight in gold to the temple. This tradition continues until today, where pilgrims often save for years to buy small packets of gold leafs to stick to the temple walls. As if all that gold wasn’t enough, the spire of the stupa or dome is covered with over 5,000 diamonds and 2,000 rubies (there’s even a 76 carat diamond at the very tip!). And oh, the temple housed one of the holiest relics in Buddhism: eight strands of Buddha’s hair.
    Links: Top Ten Burmese Attractions, Top 100 Gold Artifacts, Top Ten Diamonds, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Shwedagon_Pagoda,
  2. Longhua Pagoda, Shanghai, China

    The Longhua Temple, literally “Lustre of the Dragon Temple,” is a Buddhist Temple dedicated to the Maitreya Buddha located in Shanghai, China. Although most of the present-day buildings date from later reconstructions, the temple preserves the architectural design of a Song Dynasty monastery of the Buddhist Chan sect. It is the largest, most authentic and complete ancient temple complex in the city of Shanghai.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Longhua_Temple,
  3. Temple of the Six Banyan Trees Pagoda, China

    The Temple of the Six Banyan Trees is an ancient Buddhist temple originally built in 537 in the Liang Dynasty in Guangzhou, southern China. The temple’s proximity to foreign consulates in Guangzhou has made it a regular destination for families participating in the international adoption of children from China. Typically families receive blessings for their newly adopted children at this temple in front of the statue of Kuan Yin.
    Links: Top Ten Buddhist Temples, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Temple_of_the_Six_Banyan_Trees,
  4. Tōtō (East) and Saitōand (West) Pagodas of Yakushi-ji, Japan

    Yakushi-ji is one of the most famous imperial and ancient Buddhist temples in Japan, located in Nara. The temple is the headquarters of the Hossō school of Japanese Buddhism. The main object of veneration, Yakushi Nyorai, also named “The Medicine Buddha,” was one of first Buddhist Deities to arrive in Japan from China in 680 and gives the temple its name.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yakushi-ji,
  5. Gojūnotō Five Storied Pagoda, Japan

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    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions,
  6. Ninna-ji and Daigo-ji Pagodas, Japan

    Ninna-ji is the head temple of the Omuro school of the Shingon Sect of Buddhism. Located in western Kyoto, Japan, it was founded in 888 AD by the retired Emperor Uda.
    Links: Top Ten Japanese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ninna-ji,
  7. The Iron Pagoda of Kaifeng, China

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  8. Baochu Pagoda, Hangzhou, China

    Baochu Pagoda is a pagoda in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province, China. Known as one of the landmarks of the West Lake, it is located just north of the lake on top of Precious Stone Hill. Its small base supports seven stories (45 meters) and gives it a distinctively slender and elegant appearance. The name Baochu, translated directly, means “protect Chu,” who, legend has it, refers to Qian Chu, the last king of Wuyue. As the story goes, one of King Chu’s ministers had the temple constructed for prayers to be said for his safe return from a trip he had taken to Kaifeng, in central China. He had been summoned there by the Emperor and had been gone many days with no news of his return. It was originally constructed in 963 and stood nine stories tall. Its most recent reconstruction, in 1933, left it slightly shorter, seven stories, and it has most recently had its lantern replaced on its top, though its previous one is on display near the pagoda. It is constructed of brick and stone and contains no internal staircase. The tower lies next to a path that runs the length of West Lake’s northern mountain range and is accessible by both dirt paths and cement stairs from nearly every side of the mountain.
    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baochu_Pagoda,
  9. Silver Pagoda, Phnom Penh, Cambodia

    The Silver Pagoda is located on the south side of the Royal Palace, Phnom Penh. Formerly, it was known as Wat Ubosoth Ratanaram. The temple’s official name is Preah Vihear Preah Keo Morakot but is commonly referred to as Wat Preah Keo in Khmer. The vihara houses many national treasures such as gold and jeweled Buddha statues. Most notable is a small 17th century baccarat crystal Buddha (the “Emerald Buddha” of Cambodia) and a life-sized gold Maitreya Buddha decorated with 9,584 diamonds, the largest of which weighs 25 carats. It was created in the palace workshops during 1906 and 1907, the gold Buddha weighs in at 90kg and is dressed in royal regalia commissioned by King Sisowath. During King Norodom Sihanouk’s pre-Khmer Rouge reign, the Silver Pagoda was inlaid with more than 5,000 silver tiles and some of its outer facade was remodeled with Italian marble. However only a small area of these tiles are available to be viewed by the public on entering the pagoda. It is a notable wat (Buddhist temple) in Phnom Penh and the official temple of the King of Cambodia.
    Links: Top Ten Attractions Cambodia, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Silver_Pagoda,_Phnom_Penh,
  10. The Famen Pagoda, Xi’an, China

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  11. Songyue Temple Pagoda

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  12. Horyuji Temple Pagoda

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  13. Dayan Ta Pagoda

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  14. The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, Xi’an, China

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    Links: Top Ten Chinese Attractions,
  15. Nyatapola Temple, Bhaktapur, Nepal

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    Links: Top Ten Nepalese Attractions,
  16. Taipei 101 in Taipei, Taiwan

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    Links: Top Ten Taiwanese Attractions,
  17. Xuanzhuang Pagoda

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  18. Links: Attractions, Top 100 Monuments, Temples, Top Ten Buddhist Temples, Top Ten Asian Temples, Top Ten Minarets, Top Ten Obelisks,

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