Leading Buddhist monks from China and overseas have gathered in
Changzhou, in east China's Jiangsu Province, to inaugurate the new
Tianning Pagoda, believed to be the tallest pagoda in the
Standing 153.79 meters, the 13-storey Zen Buddhist pagoda is
nearly 42 meters taller than the Shwedagon Paya in Burma and 7.2
meters closer to the heavens than the Khufu Pyramid in Egypt.
Construction of the pagoda, which occupies about 27,000 square
meters and cost about 300 million yuan (US$38.5 million) to build,
began in April 2002.
Very tough wood from Burma and Papua New Guinea was used in the
construction, while 75 tons of brass and gold went into the top of
An enormous bronze bell, weighing 30,000 kilograms, graces the
13th floor. It can be heard from a distance of five kilometers.
Tianning Temple, one of the four largest Zen Buddhist temples,
dates from the prosperous Tang Dynasty. It has been destroyed and
rebuilt five times in the space of about 1,350 years.
The current abbot of Tianning Temple, 70-year-old master
Songchun, has long cherished the desire to rebuild the pagoda. He
has spent more than a decade raising the funds.
Tianning Temple and monastery is not Changzhou's only claim to
fame. The city on China's Grand Canal is also known for its ancient
comb industry and a Dinosaur Park containing dinosaur bones and
fossils from all over China.
(Xinhua News Agency May 1, 2007)