Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest
stone Buddha statue in the world. The giant buddha
is carved out of the cliff face located at the juncture
of Minjiang river and Dadu river. Legend has it that
a monk named Hai Tong from the Tang Dynasty often
saw boats capsize in the turbulent rivers, and desiring
to protect the passing boats, he vowed to build a
Maitreya Buddha. The Buddha was carved during the
period of 713 to 803, lasting 90 years.
The buddha is 71 meters in height.
Its head is 14.7 meters high, 10 meters wide, and
has 1,021 hair coils. The Buddha's eye is 3 meters
wide, ears measuring 7 meters, nose 5.6 meters long,
and the shoulders are 28 meters wide.
Leshan Buddha Tour
We arrived at Leshan by bus from
Chengdu - the bus ride took about 1.5 hours. There
are several ways you can get to the Giant Buddha -
either by bus, taxi, or the local tricycle bikers.
We decided to take a slower ride with the three wheelers.
For the adventure seekers, this is a definite thrill,
as the tricycles will take you winding through the
city streets along with the car traffic. At times,
things seem to get quite tense with all the traffic
around - but to the "drivers" its just like
any other day. The ride took about 25 minutes, and
I'd say it was very tiring for the drivers. 3 of us
rented 2 cars, each costing only $10 yuan. We paid
them double in the end, as $40 yuan works out to only
$5 USD, and it was hard work!
Leshan Giant Buddha from the top of the mountain.
Taking a photo of the second three wheeler.
We were dropped off
at the eastern Buddha entrance.
East Gate entrance.
The drivers gave us a brief explanation
of the town and the buddha, and they were kind enough
to take some photos for us. The photo above is taken
at the eastern entrance gates that first leads to
the lying buddha.
Following the path inside the park,
you'll see all types of buddha carvings. There is
also a large cave with a variety of carved Buddha
Some Buddha statues along the way to Leshan Giant
After passing through the cave and
up a winding path along the mountain, you'll come
upon a steep stretch of stairs leading to a temple
like structure. On the stair way up, on the two sides,
there are tens of thousands of locks. Supposedly,
the locks are a symbol of happiness and good fortune.
Finally after another 15 to 20 minutes
of climbing more winding steps up the mountain, you'll
find yourself at the top of the mountain - right at
the head of the Leshan Giant Buddha.
From here, you take a very steep,
winding path from the top of the mountain all the
way to the bottom - at the foot of the giant buddha.
The walk can be physically demanding and somewhat
dangerous, but very exciting and entertaining. The
path is 250 stone steps and a little over half a kilometer
Leshan Giant Buddha Statue Renovation
When the Leshan Buddha was completed,
a 7 storey wooden structure sheltered it from the
sun and rain for 500 some years; however this structure
was destroyed in the wars during the end of the Yuan
Dynasty. Over the centuries, the Giant Buddha withstood
monsoon rains and winds, and its condition had deteriorated.
Plants began to grow on the Buddha, and the water
from the river below slowly eroded the foundation
of the Buddha.
In 2001, the largest renovation
of the Leshan Giant Buddha took place. 6 renovations
took place from 1914 to 2001. If it were not for the
extensive renovations done, the majestic giant buddha
we see today would not be so awe inspiring.