The pagoda is situated in Chongzheng Town ten kilometers north of Fufeng County in Baoji. It is said to have been built not long after Buddhism was introduced into China in the Eastern Han Dynasty and was called Asoka Pagoda. Asoka is said to have built eighty-four thousand pagodas. One was in Weiyang, which is Famen Temple Pagoda in Fufeng. The temple was built because the pagoda was there, and the temple became famous because of the pagoda. According to historical records, Famen Temple Pagoda used to be wooden, but it collapsed between 1567 and 1572 in the Ming Dynasty. When it was rebuilt in 1579, the pagoda became a thirteen-storey brick building and was called the Pagoda for Sakyamuni's Body. The existing pagoda is the rebuilt one. The octagonal pagoda is more than sixty meters high. Horizontal boards on four sides of the first storey are inscribed respectively with "Pagoda for Sakyamuni's Body," "The Beauty of the Town," "The Buddhist Relic Glows" and "The Pagoda Shines." Under the eaves of the pagoda's first storey are carved brick pillars in the shape of claws, curtains, brackets and rafters. Carved under the eaves from the second to the eighth storey are brackets and supports for brackets; the eaves are built of bricks piled together. The other storeys' piled brick eaves have no brackets or other component parts. They may have been rebuilt later. The thirteenth storey has destroyed and made into an octagonal cover. The steeple has a copper body in the shape of an inverted bowl and a bead.
In 1982, after heavy rains and subsequent flooding in Shaanxi, the pagoda's foundation subsided and cracked, and more than half the pagoda collapsed.
In order to repair Famen Temple Pagoda, preparatory work was carried out in 1986, including cleaning up the damaged pagoda and excavation of its underground palace. During the process a large quantity of valuable relics were discovered in the underground palace.
The underground palace consists of seven parts: steps, corridors, balconies, passageway, front chamber, central chamber and rear chamber. Totaling 21.12 meters long and covering an area of 31.84 square meters, it is the largest of all underground palaces of pagodas already known today. Discovered from the underground palace are relics of Sakyamuni’s finger bone, a four-doored pure gold pagoda with single eave and a precious bead on top, double-side pure gold staff with twelve rings, a silver staff with gold flower design, two discs and twelve rings, a gilded silver Buddhist ablutionary basin with mandarin duck and posy designs and a silver bodhisattva statue. These important discoveries have made Famen Temple famous all over the world.