Its red wooden 12 story pagoda rises stunningly against a 30 meter (100 foot) high rock outcropping (see photo) along the banks of the Yangtze River.
The tall pagoda is the most interesting part of the Shibaozhai Temple. It consists of two sections: The lower one is a nine story edifice that abuts the rock outcropping. The upper section sits on top of the outcropping (where the temple buildings reside).
The nine story section is not a free-standing building. Its architects designed it to lean against the rock outcropping for its support. Without it, the section would topple over.
The Shibaozhai pagoda structure was built without nails.
During the early years of the Shibaozhai Temple, the lower pagoda section did not exist. Visitors were hoisted to the hilltop via a cumbersome chain apparatus.
Legend tells us that the higher you climb up the Shibaozhai pagoda stairs, the better your wish or prayer will be answered.
When the water behind the Three Gorges Dam reaches its maximum height in 2009, the river will rise to the Shibaozhai pagoda's foot. To keep the waters from ruining the structure, the Chinese are building a special dam that will encircle the entire temple and its huge rock outcropping.