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Pagoda in the Kaiyuan Temple


The Pagoda in the Kaiyuan Temple is located at east side of the South Gate of Dingzhou City, Hebei Peovince.
The Pagoda in the Kaiyuan Temple, also called the Sentinel Pagoda, was built in the 4thyear (1001) of the Xianping reign of the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127). According to historical records, in 1001, Monk Huineng of the temple went on pilgrimage to India for Buddhist scriptures, and brought back Buddhist relics, so Emperor Zhenzong gave the order to build this pagoda to host it. Completed in the 2ndyear (1055) of the Zhihe reign, the construction of the temple took 55 years, so a folk song widespread then in the Hebei area said Using up all woods in Jiashan to build the Dingzhou temple, which vividly reflected the construction scale of the Kaiyuan Temple in Dingzhou. At that time, the Song Dynasty was in frequent wars with the Liao Kingdom, and Dingzhou held a strategic location. The Song Dynasty had made use the Pagoda in the Kaiyuan Temple Pagoda as the sentinel in the defense of the enemy army of the Liao Kingdom, hence the Sentinel Pagoda.

The Pagoda in the Kaiyuan Temple, built on a high base and with 11 layers and an octagonal plane, and total 84 meters high, is the highest known brick pagoda in China. The whole pagoda body is coated white, and there is a door in 4 sides of each layer. The top of the pagoda is decorated with the holly pattern carvings of earthen bowl in clusters of honeysuckles, and on the top of the pagoda there is an iron dew plate holding a bronze pagoda cap. Inside the pagoda brick stairs lead to the pagoda top, interior walls are painted with exquisite frescoes, and many stele carvings and inscriptions of different dynasties can be found on the brick walls along the corridor.

The Pagoda in the Kaiyuan Temple has won fame far and wide with its tall, straight and handsome shape, and become one of the three major historic sites in Hebei Province.

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