china edition



Sichuan - Chengdu - Jiuzhaigou

Giant Buddha Statue
Mt. Emei
Mt. Wuyou

Leshan is a pretty little city, situated in the southwest of Sichuan Province, about 180 kilometer from Chengdu and 20 kilometer from Mt. Emei. It has a population of 3.4 million including Han, Yi, Zang, Miao, Hui, Uygur, Mongol, and Zhuang minorities. This 1,300 year old market town has recently undergone major reconstruction work but fortunately remains a pleasant place to visit.

LeshanThe city is situated at the meeting point of the Dadu and Min rivers and the most famous site, the Giant Buddha Statue or Dafu, towers above the river bed. The outskirts of the city have been reduced to rubble and the center now consists of sleek paving, tall offices and electronic billboards.

Despite all this, there are still some pretty little streets and markets to explore here, and modernization has made the town a relatively clean and invigorating place to spend a few days and the climate and landscape here endow Leshan with abundant natural resources.

The area is rich in plant species and fir trees and other rare species of mountain flora can be found in abundance. Some 296 animal species have been recorded; over 20 of these are protected species including pandas.

Giant Buddha Statue

The Giant Buddha Statue is situated at the confluence of the Min and Dadu River and was originally built to protect and watchover passingships in the night.

Haitong, a Chinese monk began work on the project in 713 and it was not completed until 90 years later. Despite this monk's dedication (he gauged out his own eyes to secure funding) he did not live to see the statue completed. Haitong's work was continued by the monks Zangchou and Weigao, who implemented the successful secret drainage system that protects the statue from erosion, and clothed and wigged the Buddha too!

The Chinese have a saying that, "the mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a mountain". At 71 meter tall (and that is seated) ears 6.72 meter long, nose 5.33 meter, and eyes 5.33 meter wide, this great sculpture is certainly the biggest of its kind in the world. There are numerous perspectives of Dafu, the most impressive is the view from the ferry as you cross the river. The other inspirational view of the great statue is from above. From the top of one of Buddha's ears, the sight of tourists making their way down the steep Staircase of Nine Turns down to Dafu's feet is incredible.

Mt. Emei

Emeishan is one of the 4 most sacred Buddhist Mountains in China. The undulating peaks, covered with lush forests and green bamboo occupy an area of more than 300 square kilometer in the southwest of Sichuan province.

Emeishan is the general name for 3 mountains, Da'e (Great E), Er'e (Second E) and San'e (Third E). The mountains are majestic, quiet and serene and acclaimed in China as 'a Beauty under Heaven'.

Visitors are drawn to Emeishan either as a place of pilgrimage or simply to scale the magnificent heights. Most of the monasteries and temples at Emeishan were built during the Eastern Han dynasty, while others were added later. As a well-known Buddhist sanctuary of Samantabhadra, Emeishan once had more than 100 monasteries.

The main temples and scenic areas are: Baoguo Monastery, Wannian Monastery, Fuhu (Ambushing Tiger) Monastery, Leiyin (Thunder Sound) Monastery, Chunyang Hall, Qingyin (Pure Tone) Tower, Heilongjiang plank road, Hongchun Ping, Xianfeng (Fairy Peak) Monastery, Xixiang (Wash Elephant) Pool, Golden Summit, Huayan Top, and White Dragon Cave.

Mt. Wuyou

Wuyou Mountain contains many of Leshan's more impressive sights and is conveniently located within walking distance from the Giant Buddha Statue himself.

The Wuyou monastery is a pretty pink walled building resting on the top of the hill. A monastery was originally constructed here in about 742 AD although the complex has undergone numerous periods of renovation over the years.

Today, the building is something of a museum, containing calligraphic paintings, a small band of terracotta monks and other Buddhist artifacts. The view of the Buddha and the river below is impressive from up here and there is also a popular vegetarian restaurant on the top of the hill.