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Leshan Giant Buddha

The Leshan Giant Buddha lies at the confluence of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the southern part of Sichuan province in China, near the city of Leshan. The stone sculpture faces Mount Emei, with the rivers flowing below his feet.

Construction was started in 713 AD, led by a Chinese monk named Haitong. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued the shipping vessels travelling down the river. When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. Construction was completed by his disciples ninety years later.

At 71 metres (233 feet) tall, the statue depicts a seated Maitreya Buddha with his hands resting on his knees. His shoulders are twenty-eight metres wide and his smallest toenail is large enough to easily accommodate a seated person. There is a local saying: "The mountain is a Buddha and the Buddha is a mountain".

The charm of the Buddha lies not only in its size but also in its architectural artistry. There are 1,021 buns in the Buddha's coiled hair. These have been skillfully embedded in the head. The skill is so wonderful that the 1,021 buns seem integral to the whole. Another architectural highlight is the drainage system. This system is made up of some hidden gutters and channels, scattered on the head and arms, behind the ears and in the clothes. This system, which helps displace rainwater and keep the inner part dry, plays an important part in the protection of the Buddha. The large pair of ears, each seven meters (about 23 feet) long, is made of wood and is decorated by mud on the surface. For craftsmen of thousands of years ago, it was not easy to fix these to the stone head. notebook:

Entrance fee: RMB90/p.p
How to get:
Expressways linking Leshan to Chengdu and Chongqing; another is being built to Yibin.
There are three bus stations in Leshan. The main one for travellers is the Lehsan long distance bus station, annoyingly located in the western reaches of the city though coming in you may be dropped at any of them. Another is in the northern reaches of town.
For Chengdu, the third one, the bus station next to the Leshan docks in the most vonvenient. Buses leave for Chengdu's Xinnanmen bus station every hour. There are also frequent departures to Emei town from here. For all other destinations you will have to go to the long-distance bus stations.

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