On a cycle through the 200 acre Battersea Park situated on the south bank of the river Thames, I snapped a few pictures up close of the London Peace Pagoda that can be seen from other side of the river when driving or cycling down Chelsea Embankment.
It was built my monks, nuns and followers of a Japanese Buddhist movement called Nipponzan Myohoji and completed in 1985 just weeks after its founder, the Venerable Nichidatsu Fuji or ‘Guruji’ as he affectionately came to be known, died at the grand old age of 100.
The double-roofed structure, which is 33.5 m high and constructed from concrete and wood, is one of around 80 around the world that have been erected since 1947 by the movement to promote world peace following the atomic bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.
It features a series of gilt-bronze statues of Buddha on each of the four sides showing some of the Buddha's mudras (hand gestures) and which represent the most significant stages of Buddha’s life; birth, contemplation leading to enlightenment, teaching and death.
It is described as a symbol of light in the darkness of the present-day world, a visible prayer to awaken humanity to peace and is maintained by the Reverend Gyoro Nagase who came to London from Japan in 1978 and has lived in a storeroom converted into a temple in the park since it was built. He spends his days cleaning the Pagoda, often helped by volunteers, and relies on donations to live.
Early every morning at sunrise he walks from his temple to the Pagoda, gently beating a drum as he goes.
And on 9th August every year, a floating lantern ceremony takes place on the Thames in front of it at dusk, to commemorate the anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bomb. One for the diary....
Thames in front of it at dusk, to commemorate the anniversary of the Nagasaki atomic bomb. One for the diary....