Chengdu Travel Guide
Leshan Giant Buddha
The enormous 230-ft (71-m) high Dafo (Great Buddha) is carved into the red sandstone face of Lingyun Hill overlooking the treacherous confluence of the Min, Dadu, and Qingyi rivers below. In AD 713 a monk, Haitong, decided to safeguard passing boats by creating a protective icon in the cliffs – though he was also practical enough to realize that the resultant rubble would fill in the shoals. By the time Dafo was completed, other temples had been built around it and on the adjacent Wuyou Hill, and today a network of paths links this UNESCO World Heritage site. Visitors' checklist
* Le Shan, 96 miles (154 km) SW of Chengdu
* from Chengdu Bus Station to Le Shan, then bus no. 3 to Dafo
* from Le Shan to Wuyou Si, then walk to Dafo
* 7:30am–7:30pm May–Sep; 8am–6pm Oct–Apr
from a river boat, hired from Le Shan
Leshan Great Buddha
Up close, the remains of a drainage system can be seen. The statue must be restored every decade to survive plant invasion and pollution.
This elegant, part-covered structure is built in an “antique” style and links the Great Buddha with outlying temples on the adjacent hills.
Mahao Cave Tombs
Dating from the Eastern Han dynasty (AD 25–220), these grottoes were built to house the remains of local nobles, with carved scenes of cavalry and some early Buddha figures.
At his huge 26-ft (8-m) feet you can really appreciate one of the world’s biggest Buddhas. His other statistics are equally impressive: each ear droops 23 ft (7 m), his shoulders span 92 ft (28 m), while his nose measures 18 ft (5.6m).