Mountain Emei and Leshan Giant Buddha

On March 29, 2011, in Cool Places, Shanghai, by Jack Li

When planning your China Tours, you may want to Travel to Tibet to know about China Buddhist culture, or Travel to Guilin to enjoy the picturesque natural scenery. But if you are eager to cover both at one place, please come to Sichuan to see Mountain Emei and Leshan Giant Buddha.

Mountain Emei area includes Leshan Giant Buddha, and it is located in Emeishan City of Sichuan Province with the Giant Buddha sitting at the confluence of Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers.

Mountain Emei rises in the southern part of the Chengdu Plain in Emeishan City, with its highest peak being 3099 meters above sea level. The craggy southern part of the mountain is crisscrossed by ravines and covered with a dense growth of plants, while the northern part features sheer precipices, and waterfalls cascading down the slope.

Mountain Emei is called the “Mountain of brightness” in Buddhism. The legend goes that the Guangxiang Temple on the mountain top was where the goddess of benevolence performed Buddhist rituals, thus making it one of the four famous sacred mountains of Buddhism in China. There used to be over 100 temples and halls on the mountain, but only some 20 still stand. The Baoguo Temple situated at the foot of the mountain is the largest temple on Mountain Emei, built during the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). The red copper Huayan Pagoda inside the temple is an important relic for studying Chinese Buddhism. The 14-storyed pagoda is seven meters high and its walls are engraved with more than 4700 images of Buddha and the full text of the Buddhist Sutra of the Huayan Sect.

Mountain Emei is known as one of the four primary shrine mountains of Buddhism in China and the famous national park. The mountain stretches out for 23km from south to north, occupying an area of about 115 km2. Viewed from afar, its catchy Da’e and Er’e hills stand side by side in quite a symmetry, long and thin like the delicate eyebrow of a beautiful maid in Chinese.

Mountain Emei is a world famous site of tourism, with a miraculous view for each of its hills and a surprise every few steps. There are the recognized top ten scenes of Sunny Clouds over Luofeng Peak, Evening Bells at Shenji Monastery, Clear Sound under Twin Bridges, Morning Rain at Hongchun Terrace, Autumn Breeze over Baishui Monastery, Nine Sages’ Residence, Elephant Pond in Moonlight, Overhanging Greenery at Linyan Rock, Snow World at Daping Monastery, and Buddha’s Halo at Golden Summit. There are the four natural wonders of Buddaha’s Halo, Cloud Sea, Sunrise and Holy Lamps.

The Giant Buddha of Leshan is carved on Lingyun Hill, east of Leshan City, which is not far away of Mountain Emei. The solemn Buddha is 71 meters high and its head itself is 14.7 meters high. Its ear is 6.2 meters long, eye 3.3 meters wide, and shoulder 34 meters wide. Its head is covered with 1021 chignons. Its middle finger is 8.3 meters long, and each of the feet is 11 meters long and 8.5 meters wide, large enough to accommodate more than 100 people sitting on it. The huge figure sits with his hands resting on his knees, his head reaching the hilltop and his feet the river, occupying the entire hillside.

Surrounded by the charm of both the mountains and rivers, Leshan Giant Buddha integrates both the beauty of a natural heritage and the gems of human culture. In the area of 2.5 square kilometers there are 2 sites under Class I state protection and 4 sites under Class II state protection.

The Giant Buddha faces the historic and cultural Leshan City on the other side of the river. The Giant Buddha is the center of the scenic area, and around it, there are a number of sites of interest, such as the Detached Mound from the irrigation system of Dujiang Weir by Li Bing in Qin Dynasty, the cliff-tomb clusters of Han Dynasty, Buddhist figure carvings, pagodas and temple of Tang and Song Dynasties, as well as architectural groups of Ming and Qing Dynasties.

Mountain Emei and the Giant Buddha have now been unified into one scenic area and were put on the world cultural and natural heritage list in 1996.

If you are interested in such cultural heritage and natural beauty, please book your China Flights and come to Emei.

Jack Li

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