One Giant Buddha
Leshan Travel Blog› entry 97 of 136 › view all entries
Another early morning bus ride greeted the start of this day. From Chengdu to Leshan for a visit to the Giant Buddha and then on to Emei for 3 nights on the sacred mountain. If there is one thing that has quickly become apparent is the vast distances between locations in China. Long train rides and bus rides are the norm, but the places in between are incredible.
The drive in was uneventful as we arrived shortly before 11:00 AM after a 3 hour journey. We parked, made our way to the entrance, and picked up a local English speaking guide for a tour of the site.
In fact it is estimated that the Leshan Giant Buddha project was started around 713 and carved over a period of just under 100 years, making him around a grand 1200 years old - not bad for an old guy. He's looking a bit worn down in places and some of today's pollution isn't helping out but in recent years his stylists have become much more attentive to his long term needs.
Sidebar - As we walked up to the observation area, I ran into a bit of a problem with my camera. I had both rechargeable AA batteries and two sets (x4) of Lithium AA batteries for my camera. I had used a set of Lithiums starting at the high altitudes of Everest BC and these had lasted quite a while before running out of juice a few days before. I had charged a set two nights ago in Chengdu, but the batteries went dead and all the rest just weren't holding a charge worth a damn.
One interesting thing of shopping is that one of the clerks wanted to practice some English. She told me that today was a good day to be here because the day before was jam-packed with people (again due to free entry being provided on the occasion of the Earthquake commemoration). I said that I saw the same thing yesterday at the Panda Center in Chengdu. I would have enjoyed chatting some more but I needed to catch back up to everyone and see what this Buddha statue was all about.
At the top of the hill overlooking the river is the Giant Buddha carving. The first glimpse from this level is his head and hair as one can see in the photos. Can also look out over the rivers to see Leshan across the way. Looking at the swirling waters of the rivers one can easily understand why these people might have wanted a Buddha to look out for them in this area as travel on these rivers must have been hazardous at times of high water. After looking out from above followed the well worn track down the stairs to foot level to see Buddha from below. He is a really impressive feat and its hard to believe that he was built so long ago. Snapped the requisite pictures and then up the stairs on the opposite side and back down the hillside. A most impressive site.
Back down the hill our bus awaited us for a short trek to a lunch stop and then we made the 30km journey on to Emei which would prove to be an interesting few days to say the least.