Monday, April 8, 2013

Leshan Giant Buddah

We are incredibly fortunate to have a number of friends visiting us this spring. Just one day after saying goodbye to our friends in Hong Kong, a good friend from our college years arrived in Shanghai.

With a love of spicy food and cuddly animals (we'll get to that in another post), we traveled to the Southwestern province of Sichuan for a few days of exploring.

Our first morning, we drove to Leshan, home to the Leshan Giant Buddah. Carved out of a cliff face that lies at the intersection of three rivers, the Giant Buddha sits 230 feet or 71 meters high.

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Construction of the Buddah began in 713, led by a Chinese monk named Haitong. He hoped that the Buddha would calm the turbulent waters that plagued ships traveling down the river.

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When funding for the project was threatened, he is said to have gouged out his own eyes to show his piety and sincerity. That's dedication, people. After his death, construction stopped due to insufficient funding. 70 years later, construction was completed by Haitong's disciples.

Apparently the massive construction resulted in so much stone being removed from the cliff face and deposited into the river below that the currents were indeed altered by the statue, making the waters safe for passing ships, just as Haitong had hoped.

Our guide informed me that touching the eyebrow would ensure there was always happiness in my marriage. I'm not overly superstitious but I figured it was worth playing along.

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After viewing the Buddah from above, we walked down a set of rather treacherous stairs to the base of the Buddah.

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Fellow travelers have told horror stories of waiting hours to see the Giant Buddah. We simply walked up, making March the perfect time of year to view this stone masterpiece.

6 comments:

  1. The pictures are incredible! Did you also cut your hair? It looks fabulous. :)

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    1. Thanks! I thought it was time for a change =)

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  2. Amazing! I hope that I can remember all of these places once we get to China...otherwise I'm going to have to "stalk" everyone's blogs for the trips they visited. I can't wait to get to Shanghai!

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    1. I have all my trips under my travel tab, which makes it pretty easy to keep track of. Just click the tab at the top of the page or here: http://www.donutstodumplings.com/p/travel_9.html

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  3. Whoa - this place looks so cool!

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    1. It was really beautiful. I'd highly recommend a trip to Sichuan province during your time here.

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