When planning your itinerary for traveling to China, the Sichuan Province holds many cultural, architectural, and historical treasures. One of its most well known is the Leshan Giant Buddha. Within every detail of its form, the Giant Buddha makes a profound impression carved into the side of a cliff, overseeing its three surrounding rivers. When I went to visit, I could not help but draw a comparison between this structure and one that is famous in my home country, Mount Rushmore. The main differences between these sites however, besides location, is that the Leshan Giant Buddha far surpasses Mount Rushmore in age and close-up viewing access to the public. The Buddha reaches an immense height of 233 ft. and is one of the world’s largest stone statues of the beloved deity. Construction of the Leshan Buddha dates back to the Tang Dynasty  in 713 AD and took nearly ninety years to complete. The location of this grand statue was defined by the convergence of the three neighboring rivers, the Min, Dadu and Qingyi.

Throughout China’s history, the strong currents of these rivers took many lives of those who worked in this watery locale. Due to these losses, the idea was formed to create a Buddha near the waters in hopes of taming their ferocity. Remarkably enough, however, a complex drainage system was also constructed to redirect water away from the Buddha to preserve its form. To see the Buddha, visitors board tour boats that deliver you to just the right locations in order to get close as well as far away views. You also have the option of viewing the great Buddha by entering the park and scaling up the cliff side. This is the best way to get very up close photographs of the Buddha’s features, but you have to put in the work of the ascending and descending climbs in order to get to these perfect observation points. The Leshan Giant Buddha gazes out to the horizon which spans over the meeting of three rivers in the Sichuan Province. Leshan is a must-see China tour for all travelers.

Jack Li

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