The Meilang Twin Pagodas are situated on the southeastern side of Meilang Village, which is located in the jurisiction of Meiting Township in Chengmai County. The pagodas were built around 800 years ago during the early Yuan Dynasty and are popularly known as the Sister Pagodas. Government records from the Ming Dynasty state that the pagodas were built by a local man named Chen Daoxu in memory of his two daughters Chen Lingzhao and Chen Shanzhang, both of whom were devout Buddhists. The pagodas originally stood in front of the Jirui Nunnery, where Chen Shanzhang resided as a nun. The Jirui Nunnery has long since fallen into ruin and the pagodas serve as one of the few reminders of it’s existence.
The pagodas are renowned for their elaborate stone carvings and exquisite stonework. The images are very lifelike and reflect secular life during the late Song and early Yuan dynasties. The pagodas can be considered unique for several reasons: Firstly, the entire body of the pagodas has been constructed with basalt from northern Hainan’s volcanic region. Secondly, the structures are put together using mortise and tenon joints, and the stone bands overlap without binding. Although the buildings suffer from various stages of degradation, the structures as a whole are intact, making them rare for pagodas in China of similar age.
To get to the pagodas from Haikou, catch a long-distance bus to Jinjiang Town and get off at the Meiting intersection. From there, catch a ‘three-wheeler’ to Meilang Village.