NANJING - 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 world.
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.
monks participate in the opening ceremony of the Tianning pagoda at
Tianning temple in Changzhou, China's eastern province of Jiangsu, April
30, 2007. The pagoda, which is 13 storeys, or 153.79 m (504.56 ft) high,
is the tallest pagoda in the world. [Reuters]
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 the building.
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