On the southern side of Hangzhou’s West Lake, the tall Lei Feng Pagoda overlooks the lake. Dating back as a far as a thousand years, the pagoda was recently remodeled and rebuilt and is now one of the main attractions surrounding the lake.
The story tells of a young scholar who falls in love with a beautiful woman, unaware that she is a white snake who has taken on human form. A monk intervenes in order to save the scholar’s soul and casts the white snake into a deep well at the Lei Feng Pagoda. Over centuries the story has evolved from horror story to romance with the scholar and the white snake-woman genuinely in love with one another, but such a relationship is forbidden by the laws of Heaven. The legend was existed as oral traditions long before any written compilation. It has since become a major subject of several Chinese opera, films and TV series.
The couple even made an appearance at the site …
The remains from the old original pagoda are still there beneath the new one.
Sadly, the combination of bad weather and horrible pollution usually obstructs what could no doubt be a lovely view of West Lake. Still, I’ve heard mainlanders there referring to this view as “mystical” and “poetic”. You be the judge.