Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest stone Buddha sculpture in the world, and the tallest pre-modern statue in the world. Built during the Tang Dynasty, the enormous statue sits in the Sichuan province of China, near the city of Leshan, at the confluence of three rivers: Min, Qingyi, and Dadu. The joining of these three rivers created violent rapids at the site, causing problems for passing ships.
The statue’s construction began in 713 AD when a monk named Haitong thought to build it. He believed that a momentous Buddha statue would bring help from Buddha to calm the river. Haitong raised funds to build the stone statue, and as the story goes, Haitong gouged out his own eyes as a way to demonstrate his devoutness and faith to help raise the funds for the statue’s construction. Haitong died before it was completed, and when he did, construction stalled for 70 years until a jiedushi, or military governor, took over its production. Haitong’s disciples and the jiedushi finished the construction in 803 AD.
The construction of the stone statue did, in fact, answer Haitong’s prayers – the stone removed from the statue ended up in the river, resulting in the slowing and calming of the waters.
Visitors to the statue can enjoy the scenery of the park and climb up and down the steps to view the Buddha statue from up close, and from above and below. The statue faces Mount Emei, which is part of a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The mountains of the park themselves are said to resemble a sleeping Buddha, with this Giant Buddha within them. Additionally, there is a museum in the park with numerous Buddha statues from around the world.
Leshan Giant Buddha Map
Facts about Leshan Giant Buddha
- The Leshan Giant Buddha was constructed from 713 AD to 803 AD.
- The sculpted cliff stands 71 meters (233 feet) high and is 28 meters (92 feet) wide at the shoulders.
- Along with Mount Emei, the Leshan Giant Buddha was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996.
- The statue has a built-in drainage system with channels to better preserve the stone.
Where is Leshan Giant Buddha ?
The Leshan Giant Buddha statue is situated in the Mount Emei Scenic Area of Sichuan, China, just east of Leshan City. It sits at the confluence of the Min, Qingyi, and Dadu Rivers.
The Buddha is accessible by bus or taxi from Leshan City, or even a few hours drive from Chengdu. There is a tourist boat that takes trips up the river to look at the Giant Buddha, but that way visitors don’t have much time to view the statue and can’t see it as closely.
Best time to visit Leshan Giant Buddha
The summer months in this region are hot and humid, leaving spring and fall as the better seasons for visiting. It’s best to avoid going on a weekend, because the narrow paths around the statues get crowded during busy times. The temple and tombs also close early, so earlier in the day is better if you are interested in seeing them. Otherwise, visit in the afternoon to avoid large tour groups.
Nearby Attractions: Emeishan, Chengdu, Chongqing, Anren, Mount Qingcheng, Dujiangyan Irrigation System
Related : Famous Buddha Statues Around the WorldPublished On: Saturday, June 8th, 2013