Manfeilong White Pagoda
The traditional Dai ethnic group in China is heavily inspired by their belief in Buddhism (Hinayana or Theravada) and in the past, has constructed several Buddhist temples where they reside. The Dai ethnic group is not just popular as an important historical and cultural entity in China; they also are brilliant artisans and architects, able to translate a mundane inspiration into a vision of beauty, such as the Manfeilong White Pagoda. Manfeilong, based on the dialect used by the Dai people literally means Bamboo Shoot (Ta Nuo Zhao Long). The design of the Manfeilong White Pagoda is like a blossoming bamboo shoot reaching out into the sky.
The Manfeilong White Pagoda is not just a fancy looking pagoda: it is a symbol of the proud history, culture and history not only of the community but more importantly, for the Dai ethnic tribe. While, there are numerous attractive pagodas across the area, the Manfeilong White Pagoda serves as the most beautiful, iconic and popular one. If you are visiting the Yunnan province and would like to explore ethnic culture and heritage, the Manfeilong White Pagoda is a perfect venue to stop over since it is an amazing relic of this ethnic community.
The structure of the Manfeilong White Pagoda is unique. There are nine gourd-shaped pagodas that are positioned within an octagonal base. The southern part of the pagoda is where the monks would be seen taking rests or setting up an assembly. The southern part is also where you can find a massive footprint which was said to belong to the founder of Buddhism, Sakyamuni. This serves as a reminder for the Dai tribe to create a Buddhist pagoda. And a majestic pagoda they created. The massive central pagoda is emphasized with 8 smaller once located along its perimeter. Just like many of the beautiful structures created by the Dais around the area, the Manfeilong White Pagoda has images of the phoenix on each of the 8 minor pagodas. Copper chimes are placed on the massive pagoda at the center creating a haunting, but melodious hymn when the wind strikes them.
One can say that the Manfeilong White Pagoda is not just a building but a massive sculpture on its own. The building was designed with ornate details at a 360 degree range so every place you check is extremely detailed. The sculptures, decorations, colors and opulence of this Buddhist temple is definitely an iconic offering for Buddha. If you are looking for a great place to photograph or use as a backdrop, the Manfeilong White Pagoda is a fantastic place to visit. The stark white color of the pagodas may seem muted but the colorful accents at the base of the pagoda make it even more festive, impeccable and appealing.
The Manfeilong White Pagoda is not just a pretty sight: it is also a very old icon created on 1204. The design of the actual pagodas was from 3 Indian monks. According to accounts, the one who was in charge of the construction was a man named Hubananpi. Those who want to know the history and records of construction can check the Pattra Scripture. Since it was a very old structure, several renovations were made to restore and fortify the foundations. If you wish to visit the Manfeilong White Pagoda, it would be best to visit during the New Year in which Dai people celebrate the water sprinkling festival in which they dance around the pagoda.