Shanghai's largest and most active temple is one of its most fascinating, featuring the city's premier pagoda, the delicate Longhua Ta. Local lore has it that the pagoda was originally built around A.D. 247 by Sun Quan, the king of the Wu Kingdom during the Three Kingdoms period, but today's seven-story, eight-sided, wood-and-brick pagoda, like the temple, dates to the Song Dynasty (A.D. 960-1279). For a long time the tallest structure in Shanghai, today it can only be admired from a distance. The extensive temple grounds are often crowded with incense-bearing supplicants. There are four main halls (only a century old), the most impressive being the third, Daxiong Bao Dian (Grand Hall) where a gilded statue of Sakyamuni sits under a beautifully carved dome, flanked on each side by 18 arhats (disciples). Behind, Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy, presides over a fascinating tableau representing the process of reincarnation: A boat in the bottom right corner indicates birth, while death awaits at the bottom left corner. Behind the third and fourth halls is a basic, but popular vegetarian restaurant (11am-2pm). Longhua is also famous for its midnight bell-ringing every New Year's Eve (Dec 31-Jan 1). The Bell Tower's 3,000-kilogram (3.3-ton) bronze bell, cast in 1894, is struck 108 times to dispel all the worries said to be afflicting mankind. For a small fee, you, too, can strike the bell, but three times only.