SUMMER PALACE, Tower Of Buddhist Incense

Audio File length: 2.32
English / USA Language: English / USA

The Tower of Fragrance of the Buddha was built during the reign of Emperor Qianlong. Originally designed to be a nine-storey tower, it was turned into a Buddhist tower when the eighth floor was already under construction. Like many buildings in the Summer Palace, this large structure was destroyed and subsequently rebuilt during the reign of Emperor Guangxu, and underwent restoration in 2006.

The octagonal tower is 41 meters high, rests on a 21-meter stone base and is supported by eight wooden pillars. There are numerous rooms along the portico around the stone base, and the gates are decorated with yellow glazed tiles, green edges and red walls.

Inside, on the second floor, is a magnificent gilded statue, measuring five meters tall and weighing 5 tons, depicting the Thousand-Handed Buddha, dating to the Ming dynasty. In the center is an inscription by Emperor Qianlong telling the story of how the lake was created.


Now press pause, enter the tower and press play again.


At the two sides of the Tower, you can see the Revolving Archives: a group of Buddhist buildings made up of a main hall and two pavilions linked to it by corridors. The two pavilions, on two floors, each have a revolving wooden archive.

At the back of the Tower of Fragrance of the Buddha is a colored, glazed archway called Zhong Xiang Jie, which literally means “Realm of Popular Fragrance”. The arch leads to the building complex at the top of Longevity Hill, as well as the Hall of the Sea of Wisdom.

Before heading there, I suggest you turn to the left for a moment to visit the incredible Baoyun Bronze Pavilion, almost eight meters tall and with a double roof. It weighs an impressive 207 tons because the pillars, beams, shelves, tiles, windows, doors, and even the animals on the roof, are made entirely of bronze. The pavilion rests on a carved white marble base, and you’ll hear the bells at the entrance – also made of bronze – chiming in the wind.


An interesting fact: if you’re fond of exploring, you might like to venture along the corridors that climb up among a group of buildings further to the left, known as the Wonderland, because in addition to the rooms and pavilions, they offer breath-taking views of the hill.


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