|From Chengdu March 2010 Jamie|
We woke up early again to catch a city bus that took us 2 hours to Leshan City, the site of the famous Giant Buddha. Another quick 30 minute bus ride took us to the entrance to the park where we climbed the steps to the top of the Giant Buddha.
The Leshan Giant Buddha was carved during the Tang dynasty beginning in 713 and ending in 803. It is carved from the mountain and sits facing the river and Mt. Emei. At 233 feet tall, it is the world's largest buddha statue. Jamie and I have seen several of the world's largest buddhas, but they are all made from different material, largest bronze, sitting, standing, etc.
You climb to the top of his head, look around at teh various monasteries that are at the top. One little site is a cave where it is said that the original carver stayed while working. You then work your way down a steep, narrow, and crowded path all the way down to the feet of the Buddha. You get to see up close his head, shoulders, hands, and legs. The Chinese government is apparently in the works of repairing this landmark, because as you can tell, it is quite dirty and has suffered from pollution and erosion.
To get out, we had to climb back up the stairs, then back down them and exit the park. A quick 15 minute cab ride dropped us off at the bus station where we took the 2 hour bus back to Chengdu, grabbed a quick lunch, and headed to the airport for our flight back to Shenzhen. We were back in our apartment by 9:00, pretty early for us after a trip.
Overall, this was a great weekend getaway. Chengdu is a very pleasant town. Very modern, yet does have this old city feel to it. We really enjoyed the panda reserve and highly recommend it to anyone who might be going to the area.
Be sure to check out our pictures of the Giant Buddha online in our photo gallery.