ETA Leshan: Understanding Its Significance and Benefits

Learn about the significance of “eta leshan” and how it relates to parenting practices and child development.

Key takeaways:

  • Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest stone Buddha in the world.
  • The Buddha’s intricate details and drainage system protect it from erosion.
  • Construction of the Buddha began in 713 and was completed in 803.
  • The site has cultural significance and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
  • Travel options from Chengdu to Leshan include high-speed train and guided tours.

Here You Will Learn:

Leshan Giant Buddha Facts

Carved into the cliffs of Lingyun Mountain, the Leshan Giant Buddha stands at an impressive height of 71 meters, making it the largest stone Buddha in the world. Overlooking the confluence of three rivers – the Min, Qingyi, and Dadu – it was constructed during the Tang Dynasty, with construction beginning in the year 713.

The statue’s shoulders span 28 meters, ample space to hold a basketball court, and its smallest toenail can comfortably accommodate a seated person. The Buddha’s head is 14.7 meters tall, adorned with 1,021 buns of hair skillfully embedded into the carved stone, showcasing remarkable craftsmanship.

Drainage systems hidden in the Buddha’s hair, collar, chest, and holes in the back of the ears prevent damage from rainwater erosion – a testament to the ingenuity of its ancient builders. These features have helped preserve the statue for over 1,200 years.

Visitors marvel at the enormity of the statue and the serene atmosphere it creates, symbolizing a blend of human creativity and natural beauty.

Architectural Highlights of Leshan Giant Buddha

Carved into the cliffs of the Mount Emei area, the Leshan Giant Buddha stands as a magnificent architectural feat embodying ancient craftsmanship. Completed in the 8th century, it towers at 71 meters, making it the largest stone Buddha in the world. Its size is not the only striking feature; intricate details reveal a keen artistic vision and foresight for preservation.

The Buddha’s coiled hair is composed of 1,021 buns, each individually carved. These buns serve not only as a stylistic choice but also facilitate water drainage, protecting the statue from erosion. The massive ears, stretched long by the weight of the Buddha’s earrings, are made of wood and are cleverly embedded into the head.

An engineered drainage system features hidden gutters and channels, strategically placed in the Buddha’s hair, collar, chest, and holes in the back of the ears and behind the head. These design elements protect the statue from the region’s heavy rainfall and have contributed to its preservation over centuries.

Eyes measuring seven meters wide watch over the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers, symbolically reflecting the Buddha’s insight and serenity. The coexistence of this monumental structure with its natural surroundings exemplifies the ancient Chinese principle of ‘shanshui’, where human craftsmanship harmonizes with nature.

Leshan Giant Buddha History

Construction of the Leshan Giant Buddha began in 713, led by a Chinese monk named Hai Tong. His hope was to calm the turbulent waters that plagued the confluence of three rivers and often capsized merchant ships. Hai Tong tirelessly solicited donations to fund the project, and even, as legend has it, sacrificed his own eyes to demonstrate his piety and resolve. After his death, construction was halted due to insufficient funds, but eventually completed by his disciples and the local government in 803, taking a total of 90 years.

The Leshan Giant Buddha was carved into the cliffs of Mount Lingyun, overlooking the rivers below. A sophisticated drainage system was incorporated into the design to protect the statue from erosion due to rainwater, a testament to the ingenuity of its creators. This system is largely credited for the statue’s preservation over the centuries.

The site’s rich history is not only rooted in its construction but also in its interaction with various cultural influences. Throughout the Tang Dynasty, and in subsequent dynasties, Buddhists made pilgrimages to the statue, and it became an important cultural landmark. Over time, the area surrounding the Buddha became home to numerous temples and shrines, reinforcing its significance in Chinese Buddhism.

In 1996, the Leshan Giant Buddha was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, cementing its status as a valuable piece of cultural history and an outstanding example of religious sculpture. Its remarkable preservation allows visitors not only to marvel at ancient craftsmanship but also to engage with a piece of living history, a tangible link to China’s past.

How to Travel From Chengdu to Leshan Giant Buddha

Reaching the Leshan Giant Buddha from Chengdu is straightforward. The high-speed train is the most efficient mode of transportation, connecting the two cities in about an hour. Trains depart from Chengdu East Railway Station and arrive at Leshan Railway Station. From there, you can take a local bus or a taxi directly to the site, adding another 30 minutes or so to your journey.

For those who prefer road travel, direct buses to Leshan are available from Xinnanmen Bus Station in Chengdu. The trip takes approximately 2 hours, but buses may drop you off at a location that requires additional local transport to reach the Buddha.

Alternatively, a private vehicle hire offers convenience and flexibility. Though more costly, it allows for a customized itinerary and pace, and can be arranged through hotels or travel agencies in Chengdu.

Lastly, guided tours may appeal to those seeking an educational experience with expert insights into the site’s cultural significance. These tours often include door-to-door service from your hotel, entry tickets, and sometimes meals.

Visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha often involves intricate planning, notably for those unfamiliar with the area. Opting for a tour can alleviate the hassle and enrich the experience with expert insights.

Half-Day Guided Tour: This option is ideal for travelers on a tight schedule. It typically includes direct transport to the site, a knowledgeable guide to walk you through the history and significance of the Buddha, and sometimes a boat trip for a different viewing perspective.

Full-Day Guided Tour: For a more comprehensive experience, the full-day tour combines the Leshan Giant Buddha with nearby attractions. Guides might take you to explore the adjacent temples, such as Lingyun Temple, or to Wuyou Temple, which offers a panoramic view of Leshan City.

Combo Tour with Mount Emei: Many choose to bundle their visit to the Leshan Giant Buddha with an excursion to Mount Emei. As one of the Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains in China, Mount Emei offers cultural significance and natural beauty that complement the experience at Leshan.

Private Tours: Tailored to personal interests and pace, private tours allow for customization. You can spend more time at the parts of the site that interest you most, ask in-depth questions, and potentially venture to lesser-known spots that group tours might not cover.

Regardless of the chosen tour, it’s advisable to book in advance, particularly during peak tourist seasons, to ensure availability.