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Leshan Giant Buddha


The Leshan Giant Buddha is one of the top sites in Sichuan province. Carved in a large cliff, overlooking where the Dadu, Min and Qingyi rivers converge, this statue is the largest stone Buddha in the world. The Buddha faces Emei Mountain (or Emei Shan). Together the Mount Emei and Leshan Buddha Scenic Area became listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1996. An easy day-trip from the capital city of Chengdu, the Leshan Buddha is a must-see on any trip to southwest China.

The Leshan Buddha structure began in 713 during the Tang Dynasty, under the leadership of monk Haitong and was complete by 803. The statue is a depiction of the Maitreya Buddha in a seated position and intricately carved into the mountain to follow the old saying, “The mountain is the Buddha and the Buddha is the mountain.” The Buddha is also known as the world’s tallest pre-modern statue. It stands at 71 meters (233 feet) tall and the Buddha’s shoulders are 28 meters wide, the approximate length of a basketball court. The Buddha’s earlobes hang low, as each ear is 7 meters long (23 feet). Any of the Buddha’s toenails can fit a seated person comfortably. The Mount Emei and Leshan Buddha Scenic Area are easily accessible for visitors. A popular spot, tourists can wander around the Buddha and visit temples and other shrines in the area. They can also enjoy the many smaller Buddha carvings nearby on the Grand Buddha Cliff Road.

The Buddha is located in close proximity to the town of Leshan, in southern Sichuan Province and about 160 kilometers (100 miles) from the capital city of Chengdu. There are connections in Leshan to and from Chengdu, as well as connections to other cities in Sichuan like Zigong or to Chongqing.