Located north of the Beijing Zoo, it is one of the earliest pagodas of the vajrasana style with exquisite sculptures.
According to historical accounts, construction of the pagoda began between 1403 and 1424 and was completed in 1474 during the Ming Dynasty. The purpose of building the pagodas was to house five gold statues of Buddha presented to the Ming emperor as a tribute by a Buddhist monk named Bandida from the Western Regions. The pagodas were styled after the pedestal-style pagoda in Buddh Gaya in India. The inscription on the tablet erected upon completion of the pagodas in 1474 says, "[The pagodas] are built of stone, on a base several zhang [1 zhang=3.3 meters] in height. The five statues of Buddha are enshrined in five pagodas whose size and design are the same as those of pagodas in India." The existing pagodas correspond exactly to the description in the tablet inscription and therefore are believed to be the original structures of five hundred years ago.
The carving on the pagodas in the Zhenjue Temple in Beijing depict the five mounts belonging to the five Dhyani Buddhas of the celestial vajra world, and the five pagodas on the pedestal represent the five Dhyani Buddhas themselves.
The pagodas were made of brick and marble and their pedestal are square, each side 7.7 meters in length. The whole structure is 17 meters tall, including the five pagodas. The pedestal and five pagodas are all carved in elaborate ornamental patterns. In addition to the five mounts there are sculptures of heavenly guardians, arhats taming dragons and tigers, bodhisattvas, small Buddha statues, Buddha's footprints, vajras, bodhi trees, wheels, vases, lotus petals, scroll patterns, and Sanskrit letters. The sculptured images are very vivid.