Giant Buddha of Leshan- No Exaggeration

Trip Start Aug 04, 2011
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Trip End Jan 04, 2012


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Where I stayed
Lazybones Hostel
What I did
Whoa - Giant Buddha

Flag of China  , Sichuan,
Sunday, August 21, 2011

Up at 6.30am and had to wake up Cian and Jenny on way downstairs to the minivan as they had a pretty heavy night out in an irish bar (what you say? Irish people abroad in an Irish Bar - who would have thought?! - It's not like we have spent all our time eating English food and stopping into McDonalds). Cian had politely left a little note under our door to wake them when we had to go (I don't think he realised at 3.30am that the tour was due to leave at 7).

For possibly the first time in China the descriptive title has rung true. Halleluija. Up to now it has been 'striding fairy in a blossom aubergine' or ' elephant trunk mountain top waterfront' to describe small groups of trees. We would call them 'the woods'. But here was a description that did exactly what it said on the tin, or the sign as the case may be.

When booking a trip to 'Giant Buddha' in Leshan you are not to be dissapointed. It is a giant Buddha, I would go as far and say Gargantuan, but they may be pushing it. It is a stone carving into a hillside and it must have taken a while. Some may ask why build a giant buddha? I just congratulate he who decided "I will build a Giant Buddha" or " Wo xiang...etc etc" as the case is more likely (he or she was likely chinese). I also expect it wasn't just one man and it was probably a group of Buddha enthusiasts, 'Buddhists', if you will - but well done all the same.

Getting there early the queues were not too disheartening and it took only about 30 minutes to wind our way down the cliff side "path of 9 turns" (it was steep & I have vertigo so I didnt count to check if the name was accurate.

At the base we took a look upwards to the inspiring view of the ant like people buzzing around Buddhas crown and snaking down the cliffside path. A few snaps later (Kate got picked up again by some more enthusiastic chinese wanting a photo, as did Cian) and off up the other side. We ventured over a decorative bridge to a hidden away temple on a hillside. This was via a small fishermans village that apparently served turtle as one of it's delicacies. Sadly on the way to the temple we lost Cian and Jen to the after effects of alcohol finally catching up. The plethora of steps to the hidden gem 'Dark Green Temple (Wuyousi), were just a few steps too many, but for those of us still with an ounce of energy left the march was well worth it. Quiet, unobstructed views of the Leshan region and a temple more impressive in it's finery than some of the more celebrated ones we had seen to date.

Back at the minivan, and all back together we headed back into Chengdu - pulling over unexpectantly for a 10 minute interlude for the driver first to ask in mandarin if we wanted to eat at a restaurant selected by himself (on commission I would guess), and then when we spoke in the negative - he decided he wanted some food and so hopped out and said he would be back shortly (once again in mandarin, so this is all conjecture somewhat). We sat in the minivan slightly bewildered while he enjoyed a quick snack.

This is China.
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