12 kilometers to the west of Luoyang, Longmen Grottoes is one of the four largest grottoes in China. Live cultural relics lie amid green mountains and serpentine rivers. As early as 1961, Longmen Grottoes had been authorized by the central government of PRC as a key national cultural relic protection unit. It was authorized in 1982 by central government as one of the 44 National Parks of China. In 2000, it was enlisted into the List of World Heritage.
1) Take Bus 53,67,71 or81 and get off at Longmen Grottoes.
If you are having a Luoyang package tour,our Luoyang travel guide introduce the Luoyang Longmen Grottoes to you,which is one of the Lhasa tourist attractions,thus adding color to your Luoyang China tour.
According to the Longmen Caves Research Institute, there are 2345 caves and niches, 2800 inscriptions, 43 pagodas and over 100,000 Buddhist images at the site. 30% of the caves date from the Northern Wei Dynasty, 60% from the Tang Dynasty, and caves from other periods less than 10%. It is the most impressive collection of Chinese art from these dynasties, and, dating from 316 to 907 CE, represents the zenith of stone carving in China.
The grotto was first carved in North Wei Dynasty, over 1500 years ago and expanded through the succeeding East and West Wei Dynasties, North Qi Dynasty, North Zhou Dynasty, Sui and Tang Dynasties and was finally completed in North Song Dynasty. Over 500 years' renovation and expansion have created the prestigeous world cultural site. The most significant chiseling activities happened in the Tang and Norh Wei Dynasties, which lasted over 150 years.
- Fengxian Temple:Fengxian Temple is the south of Longmen Mountain, established in BC 493. It is the largest grottoes in the open air, the representative works of Tang-Dynasty carving arts. The Buddhist is 36-meter wide from north to south, 41-meter deep from east to west and accompanied by eleven sculptures. The main Buddhist, Lushena, is 17.14-meter high, with plump face, slender eyebrow, her eyes radiating the wisdom. According to the inscription on the sculptures, Wu Zetian helped finance the construction with twenty?thousand 'guan' of money, and personally participated in leading ministers in the ceremony of 'opening the light,' i.e. opening the eyes of the Buddha. There is a large stone on the east bank of the Yi River, commonly called the beating-the-drum rock, which is said to be where Wu Zetian played music at the time of the ceremony.
- Vairocana Buddha: In the height of 17.14 meters (about 56.23 feet) with the head of 4 meters (about 13 feet) in height and the ears of 1.9 meters (about 6.2 feet) in length, Vairocana Buddha is deserved to the fame as the largest outdoor stone sculpture of Buddha.By the sides of Vairocana there are two statues of Vairocana Buddha's disciples, Kasyapa and Ananda. Other figures such as Bodhisattvas and Devas are presented in the temple as well.
- Wanfo Cave:As a typical chronological cave of the Tang Dynasty, Wanfo Cave, which means literally in English 10,000 Buddha Cave, is another well celebrated site. Actually, the number of Buddha statues is 15,000 and they are chiseled in the southern and northern walls of the cave. The main Buddha Amida sits on the lotus Sumeru throne, behind which the wall is carved with 54 lotuses upon which there are 54 Bodhisattvas in different shapes and with various expressions.
- Guyang Cave:Guyang Cave is the original, featuring more than one hundred small scale carvings of Buddha, highlighted by a 7.8-meter (about 25.5 feet) tall likeness of Sakyamuni-the first Buddha in history.
There are a couple of side gardens with interesting halls to explore. Please consult with your local guide if you want to visit them. It will take more time to walk around the palace.
- Binyang Cave: Binyang Cave presents stone carvings with a much grander scale than that in Guyang Cave but the main roles Sakyamuni and disciples remain here as well.
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