Giant Buddha of Leshan

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Giant Buddha of Leshan

The giant Buddha of Leshan is 71m tall and built into the red sandstone rock which looks out over the confluence of 3 rivers. According to our guide it was built by a monk (or at least he started the building of it) but it took almost 100 years to complete. The story goes that a local official threatened to blind the monk if he did not stop the building, but instead of being intimidated, the monk known as Haitong gauged out his own eyes.

There are two ways to see the statue. Either by climbing the hill into which it is carved and then follow the steps down from head to feet or take a boat so that you can see the full statue front on.

We had booked to take the boat but the weather was against us again. In spite of the fact that it was hot and sunny on the day we visited, the heavy rain from the previous day meant that the water level and flow rate was too dangerous and so no boats were running.

Instead we climbed to the top of the hill, which is peppered with little niches and fountains, many of which were destroyed during the cultural revolution. It seems that the lack of available boats had also created a long queue of people wanting to take the steps down to the feet. It snaked around the top of the hill and would likely have taken a couple of hours to complete the journey down. Reluctantly we decided not to do this and instead took some good photos from the top before briefly exploring the Buddhist temple which is also located at the top.