The pagoda forest
After another exhausting walk, by now the heat was beginning to take its toll on everyone, we arrived at the pagoda forest.
A little history first:
The pagoda forest is located west of the Shaolin Temple and the foot of a hill. As the largest pagoda forest in China, it covers approximately 20,000 square meters and has about 230 pagodas build from the Tang Dynasty (618-907) to the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).
Each pagoda is the tomb of an eminent monk from the Shaolin Temple. Graceful and exquisite, they belong to different eras and constructed in different styles. The first pagoda was thought to be built in 791.
It is now a world heritage site.
No, it’s not a forest with trees it’s a collection of over 200 pagodas, each a tribute to a head monk at the temple and it goes back a long time. The tribute can have one, three, five, or a maximum of seven layers. The ashes of the individual are buried under the base of the pagoda.
The size, height, and story of the pagoda indicate its accomplishments, prestige, merits, and virtues. Each pagoda was carved with the exact date of construction and brief inscriptions and has its own style with various shapes such as a polygonal, cylindrical, vase, conical and monolithic.
This is one of the more recently constructed pagodas
There are pagodas for eminent foreign monks also in the forest.
From there we get a ride back on the back of a large electric wagon
to the front entrance courtyard where drinks and ice creams can be bought, and a visit to the all-important happy place.
Then it’s back to the hotel.