Leifeng Pagoda, a five-story building of brick and wood with eight sides, is situated on Sunset Hill on the south bank of West Lake. Leifeng Pagoda, also called Huangfei Pagoda, was built in 975 CE at the order of King Qian Chu of Wuyue, one of several Chinese kingdoms during the Five Dynasties and Ten Kingdoms period. It was built to celebrate the birth of Qian Chu’s son who born to Huang Fei. Due to its location on Leifeng Peak, people began to name it Leifeng Pagoda. It collapsed in 1924 and was rebuilt in 2002.
The reputation of the pagoda is due in part to the best-known folk story in China, “The Legend of the White Snake,” a very moving love story. The story relates that during the Southern Song Dynasty, Bai Suzhen, a female white snake, transformed herself into a beautiful woman and began to do good deeds within the human world. Bai Suzhen then married a young scholar named Xu Xian. A monk named Fa Hai intervened and forbade human beings and spirits to marry. Fa Hai tried his best to cast the white snake into a deep well at Leifeng Pagoda.
Built in 975 CE, Leifeng Pagoda was badly destroyed in war during North Song Dynasty. It was rebuilt between 1195 CE to 1200 CE by the South Song Dynasty. The rebuilt pagoda took on its magnificent appearance at this time, especially when its reflection can be seen in West Lake. Leifeng Pagoda in Sunset, one of “Ten Views of West Lake” came into being.
During the Ming Dynasty, the pagoda suffered a serious disaster. During the reign of Emperor Jiajing of the Ming Dynasty, the Japanese besieged Hangzhou City and set fire to Leifeng Pagoda. The coves, balustrades and steeple was burned to ash, leaving only a brick skeleton. During the late Qing Dynasty, some people believed that the bricks of Leifeng Pagoda had magic abilities involving curing diseases and helped women give birth to boys such that the bricks and Buddhist scriptures were stolen at one point. The pagoda was so severely damage that it suddenly collapsed in August, 1924.
The present pagoda was rebuilt in 2002.
Admission Fee: 40RMB
Open Time: 7:00-20:30
How to get there: Bus No. K4, K808, Y1, Y3, J5, 822, K822, Y7, K504, Y6, Y9.