Six Harmonies Pagoda, also known as Liuhe Pagoda, is found on Yuelun Hill in Hangzhou on the northern bank of Qiantang River. Its name references the 6 Buddhist ordinances, namely heaven, earth, north, south, east, and west. Its history dates back more than 1100 years to the year 970 in the Northern Song Dynasty when the king of the Wuyue State wanted to show his mortal authority by conquering the Qiantang River’s evil tidal bore. The pagoda also once served as a lighthouse due to its strategic location right next to the Qiantang River.
Like many other constructions in China, the pagoda fell into ruins for a period before it was lovingly restored. In 1961, it was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is the product which you see today. Visitors enjoy the spectacular views of the roaring Qiantang River while Liuhe Pagoda stands silently and majestically as a symbol of China’s rich past. The original pagoda had 9 total stories with a light on top which helped it serve as a navigational beacon. In 1156, it was fully restored and by the end of the Qing Dynasty, it hosted 7 stories standing at a total of 200 feet. Other decorative features such as multi-eaves, wrapping structure, and much more were added in honor of the efforts begun by the ancient laborers.
Interestingly, seen from the exterior today, Six Harmonies Pagoda seems to have 13 stories but in fact only has 7 as it concluded in the Qing Dynasty. Easy story has a square room within, with a complete winding staircase that connects its ground with its peak. Balconies also line each story and allow visitors to walk around and enjoy the wonderful landscapes all around.
This pagoda continues to attract visitors because it is a masterpiece of ancient Chinese architecture. Within, you can see fine examples of calligraphy and seal-cutting, stone tablets and statues with careful carvings, Buddhist scripture tablets, religious relics, a minister’s tablet, poem inscriptions, and much more from throughout the dynasties. Nearby is the Center of Ancient Chinese Pagodas which showcases many ancient pagodas from many areas, making it difficult not to appreciate the love and care in which the Chinese have invested in their constructions.
Six Harmonies Pagoda is composed of 4 main sections: the outer wall, the cloister, the inner wall, and a small room. All of this forms 2 rings. The inner ring hosts a small room which is the heart of the pagoda. The outer ring is formed by the outer wall. In the middle between all this is the corridor and stairs. The passageway of this corridor leads to the cloister, and the doors of the inner wall allow access to the small room at the pagoda’s core.
The small room was originally used as the home of a statue of Buddha. Alongside are niches carved with the Sutra of 42 Sections. Hu Gate is another attraction of Six Harmonies Pagoda, whose style is from the Southern Song Dynasty (1127-1279) due to its smooth lines and organically curved design. The pagoda’s spire was constructed in the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).
one of the highlights of the pagoda are the more than 200 vivid wall and brick carvings featuring images such as pomegranates, lotuses, phoenixes, peacocks, parrots, lions, unicorns, and more, all found on the pedestal. Like Hu Gates, these carvings resemble the popular style from the Song Dynasty.
Behind Six Harmonies Pagoda, visitors may also find a beautiful nature walkway with terraces featuring sculptures, bells, shrines, and inscriptions.