Giant Buddha of Leshan

Temples of Asia | | May 29, 2009 at 2:02 am


leshan giant buddhaThe Giant Buddha of Leshan which is locally called Dafo is the tallest stone carved statue of Lord Buddha in the world. The statue is carved out of a cliff and faces Mount Emei (Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China) with the river flowing below the feed of Lord Buddha. The site lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the Sichuan province of China.  Giant Buddha of Leshan is 233 feet in height and 28 feet in width making it the biggest colossus in the world.

The statue was carved in the reign of the Tang Dynasty. The construction started in 713 AD due to the effort of a Chinese Buddhist monk Hai Tong. He believed that the river gods could be pleased by building a statue of Lord Buddha on the cliff. The monk begged for 20 years to collect money for the construction of the giant statue. When the local administration came to know that the monk had collected a huge wealth for the project, they giant buddha of leshantried to get the money from him. The monk was so committed and determined that he told the officials that he would rather loose an eye but would not give in any money. The officials did not believe the words of the monk and gave the monk a knife.

The monk dug out his own eye to prove his commitment and which made the officials scared and they ran away. The construction lasted for 90 years, although monk Hai Tong died before the completion and the colossus was completed by his disciples. Even though the site is located in a region of high rainfall but there has been no damage to the structure due to water. There are drainage passages hidden in the in the colossus and one can find them in Buddha’s hair, collar, chest, and holes in the back of his ears and chest, preventing the Buddha. There is a local saying: “The Mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a mountain”.

xin_310802300840125247202Visitors can view the Buddha up close by climbing a terrace which takes visitors just next to the ear. Visitors can also reach rite close to the Buddha’s feet. There are also boats tours available which let you have to full view of the Buddha. The Giant Buddha of Leshan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It can be reached by a short buss ride from Leshan which is well connected by road and rail to other destinations in China. It is advised to visit the site in the early hours as by afternoon long queue’s develop at the base where the climb begins.

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