china edition


Temple of the White Dagoba

Renovated in 1998 and again Temple of the White Dagobain 2003, the Temple of the white Dagoba (Baita Si), a Liao dynasty temple, features the largest Tibetan pagoda in China, towering over the neighborhood at 51 m tall. A Nepali architect built it over 700 years ago (completed 1279) by order of Kublai Khan, one of the first Mongols to convert to Tibetan Buddhism.

Originally known as Miao Ying Si, the temple has undergone numerous reconstructions, usually as a result of fire. The Dajue Dian (Hall of the Great Enlightened Ones), the first building, contains thousands of little Buddhas in glass cases, set into the columns.

An earthquake in 1976 turned up numerous artifacts, some of which are now on display in the museum. You'll find Buddhist statuary demonstrating ritualistic hand positions (mudra), a sutra copied out by the Qianlong emperor, and vivid thangka (silk hangings depicting Buddhist images).