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Shibaozhai, which literally means "Precious Stone Fortress", is a hill located on the north bank of the Yangtze River, Chongqing, China, in the center of the Three Gorges Reservoir. It’s a 220-meter-tall rocky hill with craggy sides. According to the legend, this huge rock was a colorful stone left by Goddess Nvwa when she repaired the sky after a battle between two warring gods.


Because of the building of the Three Gorges Project, the original Shibaozhai town had been flooded for the rising water level of Yangtze River. The pagoda was surrounded by the old Shibaozhai town, but the old town has been flooded and water has already covered the foot of the pagoda, the highest watermark is 175 meters. In order to protect the pagoda, the government made a protection project, which includes 5 parts and has a total investment of 20,000,000 dollars. Thanks to the plan of building a dam around the base, today the water level won’t keep rising and the pagoda has been well preserved.


The wooden pagoda is miraculous because its timber framework was built without any iron nails. With 56 meters in height, 12 floors and 99 steps inside, it’s the highest wooden pagoda existing today as well as one of the eight most wonderful constructions in the world. The architecture of its timber framework must owe to two special parts, one is the wooden tenon, and the other is wooden mortise. The end of a wooden tenon is perfectly shaped to fit into a corresponding wooden mortise. This great craftsmanship was invented about 7,000 years ago and that’s why the bright pearl on the Yangtze River can stand for hundreds of years without even a single iron nail.


Emperor Qianlong erected a red pavilion leaning against the side of the hill to provide a walkway to the pagoda at the top of the hill. The pavilion was on a large rock that overtops the river almost 30 meters, it had nine floors and was one of the largest wooden pagodas. In 1956, when Emperor Xianfeng was on the throne, a three-storied hall was added at the top of the structure, which is called the Purple Rain Pavilion. The three stories were dedicated to Manjusri, the representation of wisdom in Chinese Buddhist culture.


Many cruise ships on the Yangtze River would stop over at Shibaozhai, providing visitors a chance to climb to the top of the Pagoda. The only way to climb the peak is by stairs, but it’s not an easy thing to do since each floor is reached via an unstable ladder. However, it’s still worth, because it is said that the higher one climbs in the temple, the more likely your wish or dreams will come true. What’s more, local people believe that you will reach heaven after finishing climbing.


After tough climbing, you’ll find many historical and cultural relics to discover on the top of Shibaozhai Pagoda. Therefore, never miss any highlights.

The Pagoda

The walls of Main Hall are constructed of ancient bricks from Han Dynasty. The hall behind is dedicated to General Zhangfei and Yan Yan of the Three Kingdoms, and the hall on the left is General Qin Liangyu who fought against the Manchu army. In addition to a mural showing Nuwa repairing the sky, you can also see many different statues of historical figures in various costumes and vivid facial expressions. On the walls and cliffs, you will encounter illustrious calligraphies, outstanding carvings and many enlightening stories about Buddhism, Taoism, and other schools in ancient China.

The Duck Cave

The Duck Cave has an interesting legend. It is said that when spring turns into summer if you drop a live duck into the hole, it will swim into the river at the bottom of the hill and reappear in the Yangtze River after about 15 seconds. In the old days, monks get their drinking water from this hole through pipes made of bamboo.

The Rice Flowing Cave

The Rice Flowing Cave is another feature. The cave is in the rare hall of Shibaozhai Pagoda with a statue of a digging monk. As the legend goes, enough rice would flow out from the stone cave every day to feed the monks who lived in the temple. However, one day a greedy monk dug a cave in order to get more rice. Of course, the rice never flows again. As the Buddhist culture recommended, a contented mind is a perpetual feast.

Attractions nearby Shibaozhai Pagoda

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Typically Asked Questions from Our Clients

Asked by Ro***

Can this still be visited?

Answered by Beatrice

Dear Roy***,  Yes, Shibaozhai is still there, even though its only way connecting the road is flooded. It's now an island and you can take a board to go there. Are you going to visit there in 2023? If you have any further questions or doubts, please let me know without hesitation. It is my pleasure to work with you at any time.