Situated not very far from Chengdu city in the Sichuan province in China, Leshan Giant Buddha is a statue carved into a side of Mount Lingyun. The gigantic statue is more than 1300 years old and recognized as the world’s largest stone Buddha statue. The iconic site draws attention of millions of travelers each year who fly to China to explore this statue and the Buddhist pilgrims and streets around it.
In this blog we have shared some of the interesting facts about the Leshan Giant Buddha and other important things to help you have a hassle-free trip to the historic landmark.
History behind its construction
During the ancient das, Leshan was situated at the meeting point of the Qingvi River, the Min River and the Dadu River. The turbulent waters resulted in several boat accidents and people who made a living in the area suffered a lot.
Hai Tong, a monk, thought that having a Buddha statue in the area could help suppressing the turbulence in the rivers. As a result, he initiated the construction of the site on Mount Lingyun. When the project was half way under construction, the monk passed away and the rest of the construction was taken care of by his two disciples. It took almost 90 years for the construction to complete.
Leshan Giant Buddha facts
It is the largest stone Buddha in the world
The sacred Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest of all the stone Buddha statues across the world. With a height of 71 meters, the stone Buddha is sitting in a calm posture, with his hands on the knees and the rivers flowing from under his feet. His head is 14.7m long and measures t o a width of 10 meters. He has long ears measuring to a length of 7 meters. It can hold two humans inside! The Buddha’s nose and eyebrow measure a length of 5.6 meters each.
Talking about his hair, the Giant Buddha’s hair is so perfectly arranged into spiral curls with around 1021 twists that remain well-embedded in his head. Coming to his mouth and eyes, both of the features are 3.3 meters in width and his shoulders measure the width of 24 meters, while the neck is constructed 3 meters tall. The distance between his knees and instep is around 28 meters and if these measurements don’t justify how colossal the Buddha statue is, his fingers are almost 8.3 meters long and his instep measures 8.5 meters. It covers an area to accommodate almost 100 men. Even his smallest toenail can fit a seated person.
It is believed to be the Maitreya Buddha
As per Buddhist beliefs and tradition, the Maitreya is a bodhisattva who will mark its existence on Earth in the coming future, will achieve total enlightenment and teach people the meaning of pure dharma. Believing the scriptures, Maitreya will succeed the present Buddha – Gautam Buddha or Sakyamuni Buddha.
Now, how this relates to Leshan Giant Buddha is people believe it to be the Maitreya Buddha. It was thought to construct the Maitreya statue in China before the reign of Song Dynasty. However, it was built during Tang Dynasty due to some political reasons. The very first of Maiteya statues in Sichuan Province was the Thousand-Buddha Cliff built in the year 706 in Guangyuan. The several other Maitreya Buddha statues in Sichuan include Sleeping Buddha Valley and Thousand Buddha Village in Anyue. The Leshan Giant Buddha marked the prominence of Maitreya Buddha in the history of Chinese Buddhism.
It has a link with the Sleeping Buddha
It was discovered a few years back that the Lingyun Mountain, Guicheng Mountain and Wuyou Mountain behind the Leshan Giant Buddha has formed a shape of Sleeping Buddha, thus it was given the name, the Giant Sleeping Buddha. The Head of the Giant Sleeping Buddha is formed by the vast Wuyou Mountain, while the bamboo forest, temple and the stone formed his five sense organs. Lingyun Mountain composed the body of the Sleeping Buddha and the foot is formed by the Guicheng Mountain. The entire Sleeping Buddha is spread over 4000 meters with its head in the south.
How to reach Leshan Giant Buddha?
Leshan Giant Buddha is located at a distance of 20 kilometers from Mt. Emei and 180 kilometers from Chengdu.
By Train: You can take a train from Chengdu to reach Leshan. There are almost 20 bullet trains running in the Chengdu-Leshan route each day. It will take around 5o-60 minutes to reach Leshan.
From Mt. Emei, there are 7 bullet trains in the route taking 15 minutes to reach Leshan.
Once you reach Leshan Railway Station, book a taxi to the historical site of Leshan Giant Buddha. The ride will be around 30 minutes. If you are on budget travel, board bus 3, K2, 601 or 605. It will take you 40-60 minutes to reach the site.