The Grand Buddha of Leshan

The Grand Buddha of Leshan | ChinaThe Leshan Grand Buddha is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world. He was carved from a cliff overlooking a wide confluence of rivers 1200 years ago and gazes out with a calm expression on his face.

Yet not all of the Leshan Buddha is stone, his ears were fashioned from wood, painted then attached and his 1021 hair coils were each cut from separate stone and fixed individually onto his head.

The Grand Buddha of Leshan | China

The trail from the ticket gate to the Buddha brings the visitor first to his mighty right ear, peering over the barrier to his feet below where tourists mill like ants, dwarfed by gigantic toes.

We joined the queue of people snaking down the narrow rock-cut stairs to become ants ourselves, to view Buddha from below.

Going down the steps, passing well-worn Buddhas in niches cut into the rock-face, the size of this Buddha becomes remarkably apparent, he is carved into a seated position and is 71 meters high from the bottom of his feet to the top of his head.

The Grand Buddha of Leshan | China

At his feet were Buddhist offerings and burning incense, he towered over us, looking out across the river with his hands on his knees.

Despite the crowds there was a serenity to the place, his sheer size makes you feel so small and his peaceful expression is infectious.

More rock-cut steps lead away from the Buddha to a small refreshment area where we bought flavourless ice cream ‘face’ lollies which – for what reason I forget now – caused much hilarity between us, tears of laughter ran down my face.

This generated much attention from the Chinese tourists visiting the site and we were soon bombarded with requests to pose for photographs, at one point we lost Chris in a jumble of giggling Chinese girls!

Grand Buddha of Leshan

Leshan is around two hours from Chengdu and can be reached by bus. We met up with our friends in Chengdu and the six of us hired a mini van and driver through our accommodation as the cost worked out not much more than six bus tickets, with the added bonus of the convenience of having our own transport.


Onward went our travels, the following afternoon we took the Chengdu to Shanghai train with Caley, the three of us in a six berth hard sleeper.

One of the other people in our compartment was a young Chinese soldier, there were more on the platform, taking group photos {even doing the ‘jump’ photo a few times!}, Caley waved at them and got a smile from the General.

This was my first ride on the top-most bunk, what an epic climb to get up there, I managed to nudge everyone’s feet on the clamber up!

The train pulled into a smart, modern station at lunchtime the next day, hello Shanghai!

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The Grand Buddha of Leshan


Try these posts:

Glittering Shanghai exploring this magnificent city.

Shanghai. Gardens, Art and the Smog from Hell The air suddenly became lethally toxic!

Shanghai Museum A slick museum in a building shaped like a dish!

The Great Wall is a Mighty Dragon. Wandering the Great Wall almost alone!

The Army of Terracotta Warriors Burial planning to the extreme!

China’s National Treasure: The Pandas of Chengdu Yes, there’s baby pandas!

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6 Responses

  1. Erin says:

    We were there in August! It was amazing! Was it really hot when you were there? We were in line at the top of the stairs for two hours before we got to go down the stairs and we were all soaked in sweat. It was so fun, though.

    I had to laugh at your comment about the Chinese people bombarding you for pictures. That happened to us there, too. It’s fun for a little while. lol.

    • We were there in Early december, it was rather cool. We barely had any hot weather at all in China, over two months of travel! We craved it at the time but in hindsight I think it was better being cold.

      Bet you got bombarded often, we did, that was by far the most amusing time though 😉

      • Erin says:

        Two months in China! Wow! That would have been amazing. We were there for 8 days and were soaked the entire time. Our hotel bathrooms got turned into laundry rooms so that the rest of our clothes didn’t stink from the dirty ones. haha. What did you guys do about laundry?

  2. love your blog – and great photos!

  3. Dave Rowley says:

    Wow! So cool that you get to go up next to his ear, looks big enough to climb inside and have a nap! He appears to be in very good shape after 1200 years, do they have to do anything special to maintain the statue? (Especially the wooden ears?)