Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Taiwan Travelogue: Ci En Pagoda (慈恩塔) (Sun Moon Lake)

The nine-storey octagonal building of the Ci En Pagoda (慈恩塔) stands tall and proud as the eminent landmark of Sun Moon Lake, on top of the 954 meters high Sha Ba Lan Mountain.


The pagoda, at 46 meters high was built in 1971, by the late President Chiang Kai Shek in loving memory of his mother. Back then it was a challenging task in the construction due to the location of the pagoda, and since Sun Moon Lake's geographical location itself was distant from the mainland, the building materials had to be shipped over the lake and then carried up to the mountain.

To reach the pagoda, one would need to take a short hike of about 700 meters up the Sha Ba Lan mountain, which would take approximately 15-20 minutes.








On normal days, one would be able to climb up the pagoda which offers a splendid view of the Lalu Island, and of course, the Sun Moon Lake.
It was rather unfortunate that the pagoda was closed when I was there, due to a recent earthquake which occurred and the officials have decided to close the pagoda to conduct further investigations to ensure the structural integrity of the pagoda before reopening to the public.
While my visit was wrongly timed, this was an understandable concern from the authorities and precautionary measures are always to be prioritized for the safety of the public.



The surrounding area of the pagoda was still impressive; with the naturally beautiful landscape of the trees, plants and flowers, including the cherry blossoms, though they were rather sparse at that time too.





A building situated in front of the pagoda was formerly a rest house frequented by the late President Chiang Kai Shek since the year 1971.



Ci En Pagoda, in all its might and grandeur is a symbol of reverence and with the peaceful surroundings in the area, there is truly that sense of reflection as one takes in the meaning of the place and also the beauty of the environment.




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