Head of Giant BuddhaWe got couple of days off this summer and I took this opportunity with some friends to visit a famous Chinese province, Sichuan. We had big ambitions for this long weekend: Chengdu and its Panda reserve, Emei Mountain, the Sichuanese cuisine…

Our first stop was in Leshan, small city closed to Chengdu (1h30 by local bus), where we visited the famous Giant Buddha.

This Maitreya Buddha is known as the biggest stone statue in the world. It is 71m tall and 28m wide. It was directly built in the mountain.

The local tales to start this project say that this Buddha should calm the turbulent waters here where 3 different rivers (Dadu, Qingyi and Minjiang) meet. It should save the local ships and sailors during their trips on the rivers. This legend became true during the Buddha construction. They removed so much stone from the cliff and deposited in the river below than the currents singularly reduced.

Giant Buddha from the bottom Wooden statue in Giant Buddha Park

This site has been listed as an Unesco site in 1996 and became one of the most visited sites in Sichuan province.

We faced this situation during our visit. Chinese people like to go to tourist sites during their days off. We had to queue during more than one hour to reach the stairs to go down and reach Giant Buddha feet.

Stair to go down to Giant's feet Giant Buddha from the stairs

This site is really impressive even if numerous tourists are there. Moreover, it was easy to avoid the tourist road and be lonely in the Buddha Park. The rivers scenery with the emerging city on the back was also enjoyable.

Cave into Giant Buddha Park View of Leshan city and rivers

Incense burner for Buddha devotion Monk who imagined the Giant Buddha

More pictures are available on Flickr.

At the end of our express visit to Leshan city, we missed the last bus to Emei Mountain, our next trip stop. Fortunately, a fake driver waited at the bus station and agreed to drive us and 2 Chinese girls to our destination. We were 6 on his car, drive to an unknown place…. To be continued…