In which country do you find the tallest Buddha statue in the world? Most people think that the Buddha statue in the Bamiyan Valley was the tallest. But the world biggest Buddha statue is located in the beautiful Sichuan province of Western China.
This wonderful artistic stone statue is 71 metres tall, which is 18 metres higher than the tallest statue in Bamiyan valley of Afghanistan.
Sichuan province has a rich culture of Buddhist which is second only to the Tibet province. Quite a number of Buddhist monasteries can be found in all around the province including Leshan and China’s oldest Buddhist monastery named Emei.
Reason behind building the Leshan Giant Buddha statue
Situated in one of most beautiful cities in West China, Leshan, became very popular among tourists because of the Leshan Giant Buddha statue as well as its location between three sections of the upper Yangtze River connecting junction. Sub sections of Yangtze River, the Min River,Dadu River and the Qingyi River connect to the Yangtze River in the middle of Leshan city, which is a spectacular scene from the city. The idea behind building this Buddha statue was also due to this.
Half of the Sichuan province is geographically a basin surrounded by high mountain ranges that connect to the “Roof of the world” – Tibet from its West end. Because of this geographical location, Sichuan basin suffer heavy floods due to the upper Yangtze River flowing into this basin. Among all the cities in Sichuan, Leshan is often devastated by floods that claim thousands of lives. During the Tang Dynasty era, a leading Buddhist monk Hai Tong thought that building this Statue that faces the city, would calm down the river.
Monk Hai Tong’s idea and effort
The construction was started in 713 AD under the leadership of Hai Tong. According to locals, Hai Tong was begging for more than 20 years with his disciples to collect funds to build this statue. What was so special about his plan was that it was not just a religious monument, there was a scientific involvement too. By building this, he thought the volume of rubble that was carved from the cliff would be deposited in the river, which in turn would become a breakwater.
But when the construction was at the halfway stage, Hai Tong was passed away and the constructions had to be suspended due lack of funds. However, it resumed after 70 years when Jiedushi Wei, a renowned regional military head of the Tang Dynasty decided to fund the project. Owing to his effort, this wonderful statue was completed as per Hai Tong’s wish in 803 AD.
Situated in one of most beautiful cities in West China, Leshan, became very popular among tourists because of the statue as well as its location between three sections of the upper Yangtze River connecting junction
Beauty of designs and technology
The face of the statue is looking at the city of Leshan with a calm smile. The statue is also known as ‘Maitreya Buddha’ which was a Buddhist concept among the Chinese at that period of time. Worshipping Maitreya Buddha was very popular in China throughout 4th to 7th centuries.
Leshan Giant Buddha is unique statue not just because of its size, but for its architectural importance. The entire statue, other than its ears were carved out from red granite rock which gives the statue a beautiful light reddish outlook. The ears were crafted from wood and covered with clay. The hair of the statue shows the unique skills of the architectures who had designed and built it. Hair is arranged with 1021 spiral curl twists gives a magnificent look
The head of the statue is 15 meters high and the shoulders are 28 metres wide while the smallest toenail is equivalent to a size of a grown human. One foot of the statue is enough for 100 monks to sit on. The 7 metres long pair of ears can hold two persons dwell inside.
There are several drainage passages were built inside the statue to save it from erosion. The drainage system was built with several hidden gutters and channels that let the rain water flow freely and thereby keeping inner area dry always.
The city of Leshan in the Sichuan province attracts a large number of tourists and easily accessible. Situated just 130 km from Sichuan province from the capital Chengdu city. The journey takes only two hours to reach by bus. Chengdu is the only place in the world where Giant Pandas live in the suburban forests. For a tourist who visits Leshan can enjoy watching hundreds of pandas in Chengdu Panda breeding centre. Also China’s oldest Buddhist monastery and Buddhists’ sacred Mountain Emei also can be reached within 90 minutes from Leshan. A trip to Sichuan basin will give any visitor a memorable and wholesome experience.