Leshan Big Buddha-楽山大佛
A world Heritage site since 1996, the Grand Buddha can be found in Leshan, Sichuan Province about 2 hours from Chengdu. Taking 90 years to build between 713 and 803AD, the Grand Buddha (in the form of Maitreya, or Future Buddha) was constructed by a Buddhist Monk, Haitong, along the banks of three rivers - Dadu, Minjiang, and Qingyi to protect boatmen from the dangerous currents.
At 71 meters tall the Grand Buddha is the largest stone sculpture in the world. Sitting on top of 28 meter wide shoulders, the head is 14.7 meters long and 10 meters wide, and is covered with 1,021 buns of curly hair. His ears, nose, eyes, and eyebrows are 7, 5.6, 3.3, and 5.6 meters long respectively. The foot of the Buddha is big enough to stand 100 people, with the big toe 8.5 meters long. You can get a perspective of the Grand Buddha by walking along a 500meter path that will take you from the top of the Buddha past the head, hand and down to the feet.
There is much more to see at the Grand Buddha complex than just the Grand Buddha. At the complex you can visit Temples, Pagodas, walk through the many Gardens, or just sit and relax at one of the numerous Tea Houses in the complex.
One of the best ways to see the Grand Buddha is to take a boat trip from Leshan Jetty to Wuyou Shan. Making the journey on either the small or large boats that frequently run between the two places, you will be able to get a front on view of not only the Grand Buddha, but also of its two Guardians which are not visible from the shore. From the Jetty at Wuyou Shan, you can follow a path up to WuyouTemple. After visiting the temple, you can keep following the path down to the shore, and then up to the Grand Buddha's head.
Attractions around the Grand Buddha Complex
Also known as Big Buddha Temple, Lingyun Temple was built in the 7th Century as a tribute to Li Bing, Haitong, and Zhao Yu, the three people who helped tame the rivers around the Grand Buddha. Zhao Yu was a mythical hero who slayed a flood causing river dragon, Li Bing built DuJiangyan, and Haitong was the monk who in order to build the Grand Buddha gauged out his own eyes to show his faith , and to stop the corruption of the time
Constructed during the Tang Dynasty, Wuyou Temple was severely damaged during both the Ming and Qing dynasties, leaving most of the Temple complex with buildings reconstructed in the 1900's. In Wuyou Temple you will find gold plated statues of Sakyamuni, Bodhisattva of Wisdom, and the Bodhisattva of Behavior. You can also visit the Arhat Hall containing life like sculptures of 500 Arhats, and the hall of the Maitreya Buddha, which has a 5 meter statue of Maitreya Buddha and 48 smaller statues.
MAHAO CAVE TOMBS
The MahaoCave Tombs date back to the Han Dynasty, a time when Cave Tombs were extremely popular in Sichuan, and when people believed in the afterlife and ghosts. You will see various funeral objects and stone carvings on display, in a number of museums around the complex.
The scenery has 2 sides. The front side is Buddha Them Park with temples and the back side is the Big Duddha Statue.
To visit both sides, it takes around 5hrs. But if only visit the back side where the big buddha is, it takes around 1.5hrs.
It’s better to visit the back side(the big buddha) at first, because if you get there late during the peak time, you may need to wait for a long time from the Buddha head down to the foot, the pass is extremely narrow that each time only allow one people to walk through. During the National Holiday, people waited for 3hrs.
After seeing the back side, if you have time then you can think about visiting the front side. There is another way to see the big buddha, that is taking the boat/ferry. The cost is 70cny and takes around 40mins.
▶Can I visit the Big Buddha by public transports and HOW?
Yes, of course. There are 2 options to Leshan Big Buddha.
Option 1: By Bus
From Xinnanmen Bus Station(2mins walk from Mrs Panda Hostel) 7am-7pm, It runs every 20mins. The tikcet price is 46CNY and takes around 2hrs. The bus arrives in Leshan XiaoBa Bus Station.
Option 2: By high speed train
There are trains from Chengdu East/South railway station to Mt Emei. But during summer time, please reserve the tickets in advance.
The train rail is from Chengdu-Mt.Emei, but has stop at Leshan city. Duration: 1hour, Ticket price:54CNY/way.
▶If ony visit the back side(Big Buddha), can I still see some temples?
Yes, You will still see some temples. Includes the most famous temple”Linyun Temple”. The entrance ticket includes
Wuyou Temple too.
▶Is it possible to go from Leshan to Mt.Emei ?
Yes, the distance between the 2 places is only 36km. There are buses from Leshan Xiaoba Bus station. But please notice that there are 2 bus stations in Mt. Emei. One is in the city of Mt.emei and the other one is right at the foot of Mt.Emei which is called”Baoguosi Bus Station”. The last bus to Baoguosi Bus station leaves at5:00pm.
Or take the high-speed trains and it takes only 15mins.