Cishou Temple in Beijing
Cishou Temple Facts
On a beautiful summer's day in Beijing, having only ever seen the Cishou Temple at a distance, we decided to take a trip to see it up close. That proved to be a wise decision because as we would soon find out to really feel how imposing this pagoda you have to get as close to it as you can.
Chinese Name: 慈寿寺塔
Type: Temples & Culture
Address: Balizhuang (Eight Li Village) in Beijing's western suburbs
Best Seasons: All year round
Recommended Visiting Hours: about 2-3 hours
Why is Cishou Temple so Special?
The pagoda was originally known as Yong’anwanshou Pagoda, the Chinese pagoda was built in the 16th century with stone and brick. Standing roughly 50m’s tall,this imposing octagonal-shaped pagoda has elaborate ornamental carvings, thirteen tiers of eaves and a small steeple. The temple was said to have been built in the Ming dynasty, and was commissioned by Empress Dowager Li during the Wanli reign.
Where is Cishou Temple?
Located in the Buddhist Cishou Temple of Balizhuang, in Beijing’s western suburbs stands this majestic Pagoda. It is conveniently located by the West Diaoyuti subway station which was built fairly recently.
History of Cishou Temple
This octagonal-shaped pagoda is roughly 50 m (164 ft) tall, with elaborate ornamental carvings, thirteen tiers of eaves, and a small steeple. The Cishou Pagoda was built in 1576 during the Ming dynasty (1368–1644), commissioned by Empress Dowager Li during the reign of the Wanli Emperor (1572–1620). The Cishou Pagoda was modelled upon a similar pagoda at Tianning Temple outside Guang’anmen in Beijing. The style of eaves on the pagoda is similar to older Liao dynasty and Jin dynasty pagodas. Although the surrounding Cishou Temple has been destroyed, the original Ming pagoda of Cishou has remained unharmed except for noticeable weathering damage to the carved reliefs on its exterior facade.
The brick base of the pagoda is shaped as a sumeru pedestal and is decorated with relief carvings of the Buddha, lotus petals, and other designs. The upper portion of the pagoda features carved designs of Chinese musical instruments such as the guqin. Stylistic dougong supports—commonly found in wooden Chinese architecture—are carved in between the eaves of the pagoda.
Structure and Layout of Cishou Temple
It is octagonal, solid, over fifty meters tall with thirteen tiers of eaves. The brick base is in the form of a Sumeru pedestal and is decorated with relief sculptures of Buddha, flying apsarases, vajra guardians, archways, lotus petals and the Eight Treasures. The most impressive ornamental sculptures on the upper part of the Sumeru pedestal are the musical instruments, including sheng, xiao, qin, se, yunban, gongs, drums and flutes. The refined carving depicts the rich variety of musical instruments of the Ming Dynasty and is very valuable.
The first storey of the pagoda is majestic, typical of the multi-eaved style of the Liao and Kin dynasties. A false arch decorates the four sides facing the four directions; the other four sides have false windows. Carved on the headpiece of the arches are cloud and dragon patterns. Sculptures of vajra guardians, made of clay over wooden frames, flank the arches. The windows are decorated with little statues of seated Buddha and cloud patterns. Relief sculptures of bodhisattvas flank the windows. Eight brick columns decorated with dragon patterns stand at the corners of the pagoda. The name of the pagoda — Yong’anwanshoo Pagoda — is inscribed on the stone headpiece of the southern arch. Thirteen levels of eaves rise above the first storey. The steeple is supported by a pedestal with ornamental lotus petals and surmounted by a precious bead, resembling Tianning Temple Pagoda.
Recommended Tours in Beijing
- 5 Days Beijing Adoption Heritage Tour
- 7 Days Beijing Golf and Sightseeing Tour
- 1 Day Beijing Aoyuan Golf Club and Summer Palace Tour
- 8 Days Beijing-Xian-Shanghai Tour by Speed Train
- 1 Day Beijing Country Golf Club Tour with Huanghuacheng Great Wall
- 7 Days Beijing and Zhangjiakou 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Tour
- 6 Days Beijing and Zhangjiakou 2022 Beijing Winter Olympic Tour
- 1 Day Tianjin Tour by Bullet Train from Beijing
How to Get to Cishou Temple
Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)
If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to Cishou Temple in Beijing in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.
Useful Travel Tips
- Hotels near Tower In Cishou Temple
(0.43 mi) Yulong International Hotel
(0.8 mi) Jinlongtan Hotel
(0.77 mi) Ruyi Business Hotel Beijing
(0.6 mi) Ziyu Hotel (Zhongguan Road)
(0.34 mi) Beijing Guangdong Hotel
- Restaurants near Tower In Cishou Temple
(0.24 mi) Jinmei Restaurant
(0.26 mi) Dayali Roast Duck (HangTian Qiao)
(0.26 mi) Cao Mao Yu
(0.27 mi) Li Chang Seafood Restaurant (XiBa LiZhuang)
(0.27 mi) LaoBing Juan DaiYu(FuCheng Road)
Recommended Attractions in Beijing
- Badaling Great Wall, Beijing
- Forbidden City in Beijing
- Ming Tombs in Beijing
- Olympic Park in Beijing
- Temple of Heaven in Beijing
- Tiananmen Square in Beijing
- Memorial Hall of Chairman Mao in Beijing
- Eastern Qing Tombs in Beijing
- Soong Ching Ling Former Residence in Beijing
- Imperial Waterway Cruise in Beijing
- Longquan Monastery in Beijing
- Hugongsi Hutong Snack Street in Beijing