Friday, May 9, 2014

Leshan Giant Buddha

Leshan Giant Buddha from the river

The weekend of April 12 and 13, I took a vacation day and we took a trip to Chengdu in Sichuan province. Our first destination was the Giant Buddha at Leshan. We started with a boat trip to see the carving from the river.

Leshan is about a 2 hour drive south of Chengdu. The Buddha is carved into a sandstone cliff at the confluence of 3 rivers. They say that the cliffs look like a Buddha lying on his back. You can see why they think it is a male Buddha.

After the boat ride we headed to the park to get a closer look. I have no idea what these kids were up to but they were cute.

We ran into a momentary traffic jam on the steps going up the bluff. This tour group had stopped to take pictures of a small Buddha.

There are hundreds of the small Buddha figures carved into the bluff. Many have worn away over the centuries. Work on the big Buddha started in the 713 A.D. They ran out of money so no work took place for 70 years. The figure was completed in 803.

You get a nice view of Leshan and the confluence of 2 of the rivers on the way up.

No one was lining up to get their picture taken with the white tiger. In Buddhist culture the "bai hu" or white tiger is an inauspicious animal.

Here is another candidate for worst translation. It means don't throw stuff off the mountain.

Leshan Giant Panda or 乐山大佛 or Lèshān Dàfó

This is the scene at the top of the bluff. You can get a sense of the size of the Buddha figure from the people on the other side.  The Buddha figure is over 230 feet tall.

These people are waiting in line to walk down the steps and walk another trail along the river. We took a different route.

Click to enlarge.

This is the monk who started the project.

This young woman asked if she could get her picture taken with us. There weren't many foreigners around. I guess we were pretty exotic sight in this part of China.

There is a very active temple at the Buddha. In the foreground you can see people lighting candles and in the center a large incense burner.

These lamps were interesting.

On the right hand side a guy cleans up the burned incense. On the left, the older guy gives instruction on how to properly offer the incense.

No pictures are allowed inside the hall so I took this one from outside.

This looks more Indian than Chinese to me. It has apparently been refreshed recently very colorful.

What's the connection you are asking?

It landed on Margot's hand while she was taking a video in the temple courtyard.

These were in the temple garden.

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