Leshan Grand Buddha, Chengdu
Leshan is located about 120km south of Chengdu and is easily reached by bus, which takes about 2 hours. Leshan is famous for one thing - the world's largest Buddha. Known as Dafo, he sits at the confluence of three rivers, namely, Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. His measurements are staggering. He is 71 meters (about 233 feet) high, and has three-meter-long (about 11 feet) fingers. The eight-meter-long (about 27 feet) instep is big enough for one hundred people to sit on and the 28-meter-wide (about 92 feet) shoulder is large enough to be a basketball playground. His large pair of ears, each seven meters (about 23 feet) long, are made of wood and are decorated by mud on the surface. His nose measures 5.6 meters (18 feet). The Giant Buddha is located within a scenic area which includes temples, pavilions, pagodas, caves and gardens with trails running all over the park. All of this makes Leshan a must-see-thing-to-do when in Chengdu and a great day out. Please check out my Leshan page below.
The first Buddhist temple in China was built here in Sichuan Province in the 1st century
A.D. in the beautiful surroundings of the summit Mount Emei.
The addition of other temples turned the site into one of Buddhism's holiest sites.
Over the centuries, the cultural treasures grew in number.
The most remarkable is the Giant Buddha of Leshan, carved out of a hillside in the 8th
century and looking down on the confluence of three rivers.
At 71 m high, it is the largest Buddha in the world.
Mount Emei is also notable for its exceptionally diverse vegetation, ranging from
subtropical to subalpine pine forests. Some of the trees there are more than
1,000 years old.
The Leshan Giant Buddha, Sichuan Province, China was begun in 713,
during the Tang Dynasty (618-907) and completed in the 19th year of Emperor Dezong
(803 AD). At 71 meters (220 feet), it is the largest stone sculpture of Buddha in the world.
It sits at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers.
The statue is in the UNESCO inventory, listed in 1996 as a World Cultural and Natural
Heritage Site. It is currently being refurbished and the Chinese government has taken
steps to minimize the environmental impact on the statue. The World Bank has offered
US$8 million in interest-free loans for the maintenance and protection of the Buddha.
The Buddha was originally covered by a wooden structure,
but has been exposed to the weather since the building
The statue is of Maitreyanot, a disciple of Sakyamuni, the founder of Buddhism.
Long long ago........The river Minjiang was said to have a very torrential section to it from Leshan eastwards to Jianwei. Waves crashed against the rocks day after day washing the cliffs away. A river like this had long caused great trouble to the communication betwenn the rich western part of Shu and the lower reaches of Two Hu's, Wan and Zhe. In the first year of the Tang Dynasty, Monk Haitong said 'NO' to the evil monsters controlling the river! He thought of digging the cliffs away to let the rocks fall into the currents. If an image of a Buddha was carved, Buddhism would also be glorified! Good thinking Batman!
Once built, the sky became clear and bright as if the Buddha was giving light to the world. In a calm observance of the world, the Buddha denies whatever is unreal and whatever is vulgar,rewards the kind and punishes the evil, teaches people according to his intelligence, and hels those who have momentarily lost their way. Who else could have stopped those turbulent waves apart from the Buddha?Certainly NOT Spiderman!
A corrupt official of that time tried to bribe the Monk by asking him for the money from the Buddha. But the Monk replied "Get out of here you money grabbing b*****d!" No sorry, he didnt say that at all...he said "You may tear out my eyes, but you will never get the money for the construction of the Buddha!" (See, I nearly got it right!) The bad official got angry and threatened him, "Let's see if I can gouge your eyes out then!" The Monk himself took out one of his eyes and presented it on a plate! The bad man ran out in a panic begging for forgiveness! The moral of this story....I leave that one up to you!
The Grand Buddha carving started in 713AD and was completed in 803AD. Can you imagine working for that long? Well obviously it wasn't the same workers from start to finish as Im sure it would have taken them another hundred years on top of that! An official from the Tang Dynasty praised it as 'A golden figure of one hundred Zhang(a length measurement) shining in the green cliff; ten thousand lamps of the shrine chopping the pillar of smoke'. Well you make out what you can from that, but I think what he meant to say was that it was 'bloody marvellous!'
The erecting was positive to the development and spreading of new Buddhist ideas, but before the founding of the New China, it suffered many natural and human disasters. The reparation before 1949 was mostly carried out by worshippers, therefore things were done on a small scale with hardly any scientific devices.
This is the new thing introduced to Leshan Da Fo.A queuing system! An element rare in China, but here obviously needed. Unfortunately, we decided to leave the Buddha until the end, seeing all the other things this park had to offer. By the time we got to it, the queue was amazingly long and Im sure it would have taken at least three hours to wait in it. All it does is let you walk down alongside the Buddha so you get an overall view of him, not just from the top. Other visitors told me it had taken just twenty minutes for them to queue and walk all the way down, but that had been two hours previous! Shame really. Maybe if i come in another five years, they'll be offering helicopter rides, they already have boat trips.
This is just to give you an idea of just how big this Buddha is! This is the second time I have visited Da Fo (Grand Buddha) and both times his enormity have swept me away. The first time Iwent was back in 1999 when things were a lot less touristy. There were no queues to walk down the staircase alongside him, and no pushing shoving to have a photo taken next to him, and generally a lot more enjoyable. Maybe it was just the time of year I went. The first time was during January when i suppse no-one has time for travelling. Apart from the lack of tourists back then,we also met a researcher who very kindly showed us places most tourists never found...an 'off the beaten path tip' if I ever saw one! Unfortunately, I dont remember where they are now....didn't have VT in those days to jot down ideas and tips! I will dig out my old photos of him to put up here so you can note the differences.
Well yes,this guy is HUGE! And I took the most sought after photo without having to pay a silly amount for a tourist photographer to take it of me! On the other side is where they queue up for the ultimate photo,pushing past people, fights occurring and words being thrown across the tops of people's heads!Quite an experience- I was part of the first bit...and very nearly went through the next two processes too! Chinese people can be very pushy and shovey when they want something! Anyway, I got my photo in the end!
LESHAN GRAND BUDDHA.
The city of Leshan is about 1+ hours from Chengdu. I took the local bus & it was really crowded. There was no fixed schedule as well. As soon as it's full, it leaves. But, there are many buses, about 10-15 mins interval.
The Grand Buddha is quite a sight though you've to tag along huge crowds to get to see it. In my opinion, it's still worth the hassle. Afterall, it's the largest stone Buddha in the world carved over a period of 90 years (731-803AD).
Total Height = 71 m.
Head = 14.7 m.
Shoulder = 28 m.
A marvel to behold! An amazing feat by any standard! This statue is carved out of a mountain!
To read more about this masterpiece, please proceed to TravelChinaGui e.com.
Well this is the most 'off the beaten path' Ive seen in a long while!!! Where did it lead...who knows...it wasn't beaten enough for me to follow!!!!
The town of Leshan is located near to Chengdu and there is a giant Buddha statue which is one of the most popular sites in China.
But, before you get to see the Buddha in his entity you'll have to climb through a series of steep steps with the huge crowd!