Six Harmonies Pagoda, highly erected by the Qiantang River and to the south of the West Lake, is a perfect symbol of brick-and-wood structure built in the ancient China. It is first built in 970 AD in the Northern Song dynasty (960-1127), in a way to press down the evil of the river tidal bore in Qiantang River. The name "six harmonies" comes from the six Buddhist ordinances, meaning "harmonies of the heaven, earth, east, west, south and north".
The pagoda has fallen into ruins and gone through reconstruction many times. The original pagoda is nine storyed with a light on the tip, serving as a navigation tower in the river. The present tower was the restoration in 1156. Seen from outside, the tower, with a height of 59.89 meters, have 13 stories while in fact only seven stories inside. The core of the present pagoda was built with the bricks left over from the Southern Song dynasty. The upturned wooden multi-eaves and wrapping structure were first built in the ending years of the Qing dynasty and have been refurbished many times.
Standing by the Qiantang River in Hangzhou. the Pagoda of Six Harmonies was first constructed in 970 during the Northern Song Dynasty (960-1127) by Qian Hongchu. King of the Wuyue State. who ruled the area of today`s Jiangsu. Zhejiang and Fujian provinces. The purpose of building the pagoda was to suppress the tidewaters. It had nine storeys and was some 150 meters high. At night lanterns were lit on the pagoda so that ships and boats on the Qiantang River could use it as a navigation tower.
The pagoda suffered repeated damages over about a thousand years. It was almost completely destroyed by war in 1121. Reconstruction started in 1153 and was completed in 1163. The height of the pagoda was reduced after reconstruction because there were only seven storeys left of the original nine. Major repairs were made again in 1524 during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644) and in 1735 and 1900 during the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). but these repairs were on the outside eaves only. The brick body of the pagoda remained the same as in the Song Dynasty. Today some Song Dynasty inscriptions can still be found inside the pagoda.
The extant pagoda is octagonal. with thirteen levels on the exterior but seven levels on the interior. It stands 59.89 meters high. and is one of the tallest pagodas in southern China. The pagoda can be divided into four parts from the exterior to the interior. namely. the outer wall. the zigzag corridor. the inside wall and the little chamber. The corridor in-between connects the exterior with the interior; the winding staircases. linking the corridor parts. lead to the top level. The exterior wall. with a thickness of 4.12 meters. has doors in the four sides. On the two side walls of the entrance connecting the exterior with the interior. there are engraved shrines. The four sides of the interior wall. with a thickness of 4.2 meters. also have doors. In the center of the pagoda is the little chamber which was originally used to place Buddhist Statues. Each storey has a square room. with ceiling supported by brackets.
In the pagoda there are more than two hundred sites of brick carvings. which feature a wide range of motifs. including megranate. lotus. phoenix. peacock. parrot. lion. kylin and so on. These brick carvings are rare material proofs of Chinese ancient architectures.
The Six Harmonies Pagoda. as a state-level cultural site. has been under the state protection since 1961. It is one of the famous scenic spots in Hangzhou City. Commanding a spectacular view of the surging Qiantang River. the pagoda presents a quiet image of age-old majesty. Looking out from the top of the pagoda. sightseers can see as far as the misty horizon. enjoying the unforgettable. breathtaking scenery..
Down by the Qiantang River, about a 15 minute cab ride from the lake in light traffic, but it is a pretty road to drive down through all the tunnels and tea fields. Besides the pagoda itself, which is arguable the most prominent of all the temples and pagodas in Hangzhou, there is an adjacent park with hundreds of realistic replicas of the world's most famous pagodas, complete with mini-sized trees in front of the pagoda models.
The Six Harmonies (Liuhe) Pagoda lies in Yuelun Hill on the north bank of the Qiantang River in Hangzhou, Zhejiang Province. The name "six harmonies" comes from the six Buddhist ordinances, meaning "harmonies of the heaven, earth, north, south, east, and west". The pagoda was first built in 970 AD by the King of Wuyue State, who intended to demonstrate his authority by conquering the evil of the river tidal bore of the Qiantang River. The pagoda fell into ruins and went through reconstruction many times before being listed as one of the key national cultural heritages in 1961.
Commanding a spectacular view of the surging Qiantang River, the pagoda presents a quiet image of age-old majesty. The original pagoda has nine stories with a light on the top, which serves as a navigation tower. In 1156, the pagoda experienced a large-scale restoration. The artisans used carved bricks when reconstructing the inside of the pagoda. By the end of the Qing Dynasty, the upturned wooden multi-eaves and wrapping structure was added to the pagoda and, in the eyes of the people, presented the soul and labor of ancient Chinese. The pagoda we see today is an octagonal structure 200 feet tall. Seen from the outside, the pagoda has the appearance of a 13-story building; in actuality, there are only seven stories.
It is octagonal in shape and some 59.89 meters (196 feet) in height, it also has the appearance of being a thirteen-story structure, though it only has seven interior stories. There is a spiral staircase leading to the top floor and upon each of the seven ceilings are carved and painted figures including animals, flowers, birds and characters. Each story of the pagoda consists of four elements, the exterior walls, a zigzagged corridor, the interior walls and a small chamber. Viewed from outside, the pagoda appears to be layered-bright on the upper surface and dark underneath. That is a harmonious alternation of light and shade.
The Six Harmonies Pagoda is definitely a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture that continually attracts visitors both home and abroad. Visitors here may be shocked and entertained not only by the long and splendid history of China but also the arts of Chinese calligraphy and seal-cutting. There are various sorts of stone tablets and stone statues both inside and out of the pagoda, left over from the past times. One may see relics such as a minister's tablet, a Buddhist scripture tablet, a god statue, a poem inscription, and similar artifacts from different dynasties. Moreover, the Center of Ancient Chinese Pagodas has opened near the pagoda. It features all kinds of the ancient pagodas erected in the different areas and different dynasties. One will have an appreciation of the quintessence of ancient Chinese pagodas.
Liuhe (Six Harmonies) Pagoda is situated on the top of the Yuelun Mountain. It has 13 floors viewed from outside and 7 floors inside and is 59.89 meters tall. It is a famous octagonal pagoda, founded in the third year of Kaibao(970) in the Northern Song Dynasty by King Qian Hongchu the kingdom of Wuyue to calm down the tide of Qiantang River. It is a pavilion style tower made of brick and wood. A stone staircase leads to the top, where one can enjoy the beauty of the Qiantang River.
The views from the top are spectacular and ironically, many people now come here to watch the waterfalls nearby in the heavy rain period. You can enjoy the beauty scenery of the Qiantang River after climbing the tower.
Close to the pagoda a "Pagoda Park" has recently opened up. This little park has an exhibition which details the history of the pagoda and the culture and symbols associated with it.