World Cultural & Natural Heritage
It's interesting to note that the Grand Buddha project which was originally constructed to protect boatmen from perishing in the Min River has now been granted the name of "world cultural and natural heritage" in Dec 1996.
If, after taking the route down to the Giant Buddha's feet, you take the cliff path towards Wuyou Temple, you'll go through this traditional fishing village. The village itself is said to be boat-shaped in order to be an imitation of the ancient Luocheng town built during the Qing dynasty. You'll find several places selling food and drinks plus souvenirs.
Great Buddha of Leshan
"Side trip from Chengdu"
Part of the package tour for our Sichuan trip, it's a good day trip from Chengdu.
The main attraction is the gigantic Buddha statues carved from the mountains.
Also, as you ply the river in the ferry, look out for a segment of the river where a stretch of black sedimentation forms a clear cut line from the green waters of the river.
Le Shan Giant Buddha
"- The Tallest in The World"
The Giant Buddha, initially built in year 713, finished by 803 (after 90 years). Its sitting height is 71 meters, claimed to be the tallest in the world. The head 'height' is 14.7 m, 'width' 10m; shoulder width 24m; ears' length 7m; top of each foot width 8.5m on which 100 people can sit.
From Chengdu Shi2 Yang2 (Stone Sheep) bus center, a 1.5- hour, 160-km bus ride due south (very comfortable buses) will take you to the center of Le4 Shan1 city at RMB 35 (US$ 4+) per person one-way.
There have been several major renovations of the giant buddha. Initially the whole buddha was covered with a temple like architecture which later burnt down during a fire. So now the whole buddha exposed to the nature. He sits there facing the Min River and looks at us when we look at him.
It is said that he has are more than 1,000 hair 'buns', and orginially carved out of stone, ruined after more than 1,200 years by nature, now have been rebuilt with cement.
"Local People Carrying Tiles"
This is a typical way many country people in China use to carry things. The tiles are used for repairing the temples on the hills.
"Li Dui - A Departed 'Rock'"
The same people who built the Du Jiang Yan irrigation (see my Du Jiang Yan travelogue) also dug a channel through the hill here to split the Min river at this segments for better control irrigation water. The departed piece of hill stands at the middle of the river is called by locals 'Li Dui' (Li2=part, apart; Dui1=rock pile).
"Da Fo Si/Giant Buddha Temple"
The temple is located at the area above and behind the giant buddha's head. Many tourists, being them buddhists or not, purchase and burn inscents here for good luck or pray for Buddha's protection.
Along the courtyard of the temple, a very good exhibition displays the history of the Giant Buddha, its construction and renovation, photos of different time periods and so on.
"Yang Su/Admiring Su"
The two big characters means 'admiring Su' (the one on the left of photo means SU in traditional style; the right means 'admire' here) - for admiring a famous Chinese ancient literaturist SU1, Dong1 Po1.
Maybe due to the iron in the rocks, the rocks here all have very red hue. Their texture and colors struck me. This is part of the Ling Yun Zhan Dao.
"Front of the Giant Buddha"
Once get off the bus, you can either walk to take a taxi to get to the ferry. The Buddha is on the other side of the Min River.
Two types of ferries available for you to cross the Min River if you choose by boat. One is simply for crossing the river, it is RMB 1 (about 12 cents)/person for a one-way ride.
The other one is for tourists, RMB 30 ($4-)/per person for a one-way ride. The only benefit of spending extra money is that the boat will 'stand' still at the middle of Min River in a proper distance in front of the Buddha so you can take a good photo of it.
A wooden platform is built for tourists to have their photo taken with the buddha, on land.
"Jiu Qu Zhan Dao/9-Bending Pathway"
In order to get to the platform area, olny a one-way route you can take to get to the feet of the buddha: After you disembark from the boat, walk along the stone stairways to get to the area above the Buddha behind his head, then going down via this very narrow zigzag stairway, the jiu3 qu3 zhan4 dao4 (9-bending pathway) to the bottom. This stairway is so narrow that barely one person can walk through, therefore the traffic is restrictly one-way - going down. The stairway is at the buddha's right hand side.
"Ling Yun Zhan Dao (Above Cloud Pathway)"
After passing in front of the buddha, one needs to walk along this Ling Yun Zhan Dao (Above Cloud pathway) to get to the other side of the hill.
Some segment of it looks scary as you will see the rapid Min River is right next down to the path. It is very safe to walk along the pathway, as you can see, a protection 'wall' was built preventing people from falling off into the river.
This is a newly built bridge, but still Chinese style.
"Arch Bridge and Local Boat"
"Boat-Shape Fishing Village"
One needs to get onto a helicopter to view this village's fishboat shape. The left photo shows the front entrance of the village, the right, the back. There are few restaurants and souvenoir stores inside the village, no one fishing any more, but gold fish can be purchased here as pet, or the live fish from the river can be eaten at the restaurants.
This gentleman is spliting some bamboo for later various use.