Leshan: Lingyun Hill with Great Buddha (Dafo), and Nearby Buddhist Shrines and Temples


We have left Yunnan and flown to Chengdu, in Sichuan Province. We will be here four days, as there are many things we want to see. The first of them is the Great Buddha (Dafo) at Leshan. about 150 km southwest of Chengdu. This 230 ft. high sculpture is carved into Lingyun Hill, a steep red sandstone cliff overlooking the confluence of the Min, Dadu, and Qingyi Rivers. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site now, but it barely escaped destruction during the Cultural Revolution.


The sculptor of the Great Buddha was a monk, Haitong, who conceived the project as a protective icon for boatmen navigating the treacherous waters at the confluence of the three rivers. Supported by public money he began the project in 713, and lived in a cave in the hill behind the sculpture as it was being carved. It was not completed until after his death, in 803.


Besides the Great Buddha itself, the area within the park has many temples, shrines, tombs, and other structures, many of them dating back to the time the Great Buddha was being carved. Some of these are shown below.

Floral display
Food vendor

Approaching the park, we see a floral display and a vendor offering steamed eggs and other treats.

Statue of Haitong
Haitong's cave

A statue of Haitong himself (left) and the cave he lived in while the Great Buddha was being carved.

Carved Chinese Script

Statue of fat monk
Statue of Buddha
Interior with statues

Angry looking deity
Angry looking deity
Angry looking deity
Angry looking deity

Four angry-looking deities.

Head of Great Buddha

Leshan Great Buddha (Dafo).

Seated Great Buddha
Feet of Great Buddha

Linyun Hill

Coming down the carved red sandstone face of Lingyun Hill, on the Nine Turns Staircase.

Looking up at Great Buddha

Looking up at the big guy from below ...

Head of Great Buddha

... and again from above.


Lingbao Pagoda (Tang Dynasty, 13 layers).

Wuyou Hill

Wuyou Hill, with Tingtao Pavilion.