April 6, 2012
Kaiyuan Temple is one of the 18 views of Quanzhou (as approved/promoted/propagated? by the government). According to the information sheet I got, it “is a national key safekeeping cultural relic and a national 4A grade tousit spot. It was built in the 2nd year of Chuigong 垂拱二年 in the reign of Empress Wuzetian of the Tang dynasty 始建于唐武則天 686AD. It was originally named The Lotus Temple 蓮花寺.” I saw the Giant Buddhist Hall, the Twin Pagodas (The East Pagoda is also called the Zhenguo Pagoda 鎮國搭 and it is 48.24m high. The West Pagoda, on the other hand, is called the Renshou Pagoda 仁壽搭 and it is 44.06m high.) Again according to the info sheet, “the Twin Pagodas are gems of ancient Chinese stone architecture and has become the landmark of the historic city Quanzhou.”
My dad said that he used to play here with his friends when he was young. Back then, the place was open to the public free of charge. Now, you have to pay 10RMB to get in. I guess it’s to preserve the place too. He also said that the pagodas were built by men with their own hands. That’s one of the reasons why they’re famous, I think. Imagine building something like this back in the old old days when they didn’t have all the modern equipment/technology that we have today. I also saw in one of the signs that 2 different strong earthquakes (magnitude 9 and 6 respectively) hit the place before, and damaged the pagodas a bit (maybe the insides?) but I think they’re still the original structures from way back… or maybe they were strengthened or something. I’m not sure. Whoops!