The Songyue Temple Pagoda is located at the south foot of Songshan Mountain, 7 kilometers northwest to Dengfeng County in Henan Province.
The pagoda is surrounded by hills and is the oldest brick pagoda with dense eaves. With peaks rising one after another, the scenery is very beautiful.
The Songyue Temple was originally named as the Xianjü(leisure residence) Temple. It was the summer or winter palace for Emperors Xuanwu and Xiaoming in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). Because Buddhism was canonized at that time, the palace was changed to the temple. Emperor Xiaoming once personally presented lectures on Buddist sutras here. The temple used to have a large scale. According to historical documents, the Buddhist temple is large and has made full use of national resources. There are more than 700 monks and over one thousand rooms. In the early Tang Dynasty (618-907), the temple got the present name. It was expanded several times. Empress Wu Zetian often lived here and changed it into her temporary palace for a while. After the Tang Dynasty, it was on the decline.
Among the original buildings, only the pagoda survived today. Other buildings, such as the Temple Gate, the Great Hall, the Samghrma Hall, the Civilian Hall and others, were all added in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). The pagoda was built during the Zhengguang reign (520-524) in the Northern Wei Dynasty with a history of over 1,400 years. It is 40 meters tall and the plane is in dodecagon with a circumference of 33 meters. The outer is divided into 15 layers with dense eaves and the inner 10 layers. The foundation is 0.85 meters in height and its structure is very simple and crude. On the four walls of the pagoda, there are doors whose openings are wide and tall. The top of the door is in pointed arch, decorated with lotus flower patterns in the shape of E. Besides the four walls with doors, there is a shrine on each of the eight walls. The shrine is a square tower with a single layer, protruding out of the wall. Entering the pointed arch door, one can go to the inner chamber of the shrine, and see colored Buddhist frescos preserved inside. Besides, on each stage of every side of the pagoda, there are arch doors and windows with lattices, which are mostly for decoration and amount to more than 500. The spire of the pagoda is 3.5 meters high. The whole pagoda is in the shape of parabolic curve with clear and smooth lines, displaying a grand and beautiful view. Not only its artistic structure is at a very high level, but also its construction techniques are quite accurate. Therefore, the Songyue Temple Pagoda has an important position in the history of Chinese ancient architecture.