Three Pagodas 三塔

Buddhist Pagodas 佛塔

The most important Buddhist pagodas in Yunnan.

Picture: Three Pagodas 三塔
Three Pagodas 三塔

Situated just north of the modern old town of Dali, but once just next to the capital of the Nanzhao empire, which was located about where the modern Sanyuejie is, the Three Pagodas are one of the most important cultural relics in Yunnan and a landmark even a thousand years since they were constructed.

The pagodas were part of the Chongsheng Temple 崇圣寺, which was totally destroyed during the Muslim rebellion after being somewhat derelict even during the Ming dynasty as Xu Xiake 徐霞客 reports in his writing. 

A totally new temple complex was built from the 1980s onwards, to serve as a tourism destination and today, the Three Pagoda complex is surrounded by high walls lest someone avoids paying the entrance fee. 

The complex is still sometimes used for rather grandiose Chinese Buddhist ceremonies, more for show than anything else. The local Bai population does not really consider the pagodas as a place of worship, they congregate in the smaller local temples in Dali old town instead. 

Picture: Three Pagodas 三塔
Picture: Three Pagodas 三塔

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