Standing like silent watchmen over the town of Dali in China’s Yunnan Province, the Three Pagodas of Chong Sheng Temple are some of the oldest buildings left standing in the country. Originally built between the 9th and 10th centuries, the pagodas have survived revolutions, fires, and massive earthquakes.
The pagodas stand like guardians between the old city of Dali and the imposing Cangshan Mountains. It is said that the pagodas were originally built to keep dragons away from the city, but today, they draw tourists to the city by the busload.
Chong Sheng Temple, where the statues are located, is a very impressive modern temple that extends well up the side of the rising mountain. Despite having been built in 2005, it is definitely worth spending the time to see this modern marvel. That being said, it is impossible to deny that the Three Pagodas are the main reason to come to the temple.
The tallest pagoda stands nearly 70 meters tall and is one of the tallest pagodas ever completed in China. Its brick and mud construction belies the hidden strength of a structure that once survived an earthquake that leveled 99% of the buildings in Dali.
The image above shows all three statues standing effortlessly in front of the Cangshan Mountains. It’s amazing to think that something so old and seemingly delicate could survive through the ages.