Leshan Buddha is the largest Buddha in the world. Located in Leshan City, Sichuan province, the Buddha is on the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites, and has made Leshan into a thriving tourist destination.
Leshan Buddha history is rich and long, as work was begun on the statue in the Tang dynasty in the year 713. It took more than 90 years to carve the Buddha out of the natural stone found in the Leshan area. Thousands of workers helped make the Leshan Giant Buddha, and the statue plays a part in many of the poems, songs, and stories of China written over the years. A monk named Hai Tong began Leshan Buddha history, by initiating the project to help workers living in the area. At the time, work in Leshan was dangerous, as three rivers—namely, the Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River—come together and join here. The workers often had boat accidents, due to the strong currents. The monk decided to carve the Leshan Giant Buddha to watch over the people, and prevent such disasters.
The Leshan Buddha is known for its solemn stillness, as opposed to the image of the laughing Buddha. It is about 233 feet high, and its fingers alone are almost 10 feet in length. Apart from its size, the Leshan Giant Buddha is impressive for its architectural artistry. For example, the large ears are wooden, and decorated on the surface with mud. Fixing these to the Buddha's stone head would be a masterly feat even for modern engineers working today.
There are many ways to travel to the Leshan Buddha site. Most vacationers come from the city of Chengdu. The city boasts the Chengdu Shuangliu International Airport, so flights to China to see the Buddha couldn't be easier. From the city, it is roughly 93 miles to Leshan. Buses leave for Leshan every hour, and visitors should be warned that there is no train connection. Once you have arrived at Leshan City or nearby Chongqing City, there are many ferries to the holy site. You can also take the bus from Emai Shan, one of four world-renowned Buddhist mountains, and popular with tourists for its serene mountain scenery and many holy temples. After a hike up this sacred mountain, many vacationers take the one-hour bus straight to the Leshan Buddha, to enrich their experience of religious China even further.
Leshan Buddha history is intertwined with the history of Leshan itself. A charming waterfront city in its own right, Leshan is known for its winding alleys covered with trees, and friendly locals who are very much used to tourists coming to see their holy Buddha. Although it's possibly to stay in Leshan, those who want more choice should head back to Chengdu, which is a thriving, modern city with plenty of budget and luxury hotels. Most visitors to the Buddha pass through Chengdu, which is the fifth most densely populated city in China. Despite its size, Chengdu still manages to be well-known for its relaxed attitude and plentiful green spaces.
Any tour of China should take in the Giant Buddha, not only because it one of the top things to do in China, but also because of its ideal location, in charming Leshan, and near to a holy Buddhist mountain. Along with the Great Wall of China and the Terracotta Army in Xian, the Leshan Buddha is one of the many wonders of the world that make China such an awe-inspiring travel destination.