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Bao'en Temple

 Beisi Pagoda
Located in Suzhou City (sū zhōu shì 苏州市), Jiangsu Province (jiāng sū shěng 江苏省), Bao’en Temple (bào ēn sì 报恩寺), also called Beisi Temple (běi sì 北寺), was originally constructed during the Liang Dynasty (liáng dài 梁代), with a long history of more than 1700 years. It is said that the temple was constructed by Sun Quan (sūn quán 孙权) so as to requite his mother for her love and care.

Beisi PagodaThe temple was called Tongxuan Temple (tōng xuán sì 通玄寺) in ancient times. In the Tang Dyansty (táng cháo 唐朝), it was called Kaiyuan Temple (kāi yuán sì 开元寺). In the Northern Zhou Dynasty (běi zhōu 北周), it was reconstructed and its name was changed into Bao’en Temple.

Within the temple, the Beisi Pagoda (běi sì tǎ 北寺塔) is the most attractive. It is a Buddhism pagoda with loft-style. In the Southern Song Dynasty (nán sòng 南宋), it was rebuilt to a octahedral pagoda with nine stories. The pagoda was once the highest architecture in Suzhou City. The pagoda at present is the original one of that period. The pagoda is 76 meters high, covering an area of 1.2 mu. The pagoda is with double eaves, which makes it much more great and graceful. Stepping up the pagoda, tourists can get a bird’s eye view of the whole city.

Night View of Beisi PagodaTo the east of the pagoda, there is the Guanyin Hall (guān yīn diàn 观音殿). It is the best preserved architecture of the Ming Dynasty (míng cháo 明朝). The hall is with double eaves and saddle roof. To the south of the hall, there is a long corridor, in which there is the largest picture of lacquer carving within China, which is 32 meters long and 2 meters high.

To the north of the pagoda, there is the ancient Bronze-Buddha Hall (tóng fó diàn 铜佛殿) and Sutra Collection Pavilion (cáng jīng gé 藏经阁). There was once a bronze Buddha of Three Period (sān shì fó 三世佛) consecrated in the Bronze-Buddha Hall. The beams in the hall and the decorations on them are in Huizhou style. The Sutra Collection Pavilion was called Fanxiang Hall (fàn xiāng táng 梵香堂) originally. It is with double eaves and saddle roof. Besides, there is a tablet pavilion at the north side of the Beisi Padoga. In the pavilion, there is the Stele of Zhang Shicheng (zhāng shì chéng 张士诚), which is a rarely seen stone carving of the Yuan Dynasty (yuán cháo 元朝). To the northeast of the pagoda, there is the Plum Garden (méi pǔ 梅圃), in which there are rockeries, pavilions, corridors and bridges.

Bao'en Temple
Location: Renmin Road (rén mín lù 人民路), Suzhou City
Admission fee: RMB 15, and RMB 10 extra for stepping up the pagoda
Opening hours: 8:00 a.m. – 6:00 p.m.
Transportation: you can take bus No. 1, 4, 5, 8, 31, 54, 69, 101, 103, 112, 313, 406, 602 to get there directly


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