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Longmen Grottoes (龙门石窟 - Lóngmén shíkū)

Rem Sapozhnikov / April 2014

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Longmen Grottoes, Dragon's Gate in translation, is the most known tourist sight of the city of Luoyang. It represents the limestone rock with 2345 grottoes and niches which were carved on its slope, as well as tens of thousands of reliefs and statues of Buddha and other religious figures. Creation of the grottoes began in 493 AD, after the capital was moved to Luoyang from Datong city. By the way, in Datong city are situated the Yungang Grottoes, which can be called grottoes-predecessors, created in the period from 460 for 525 AD. Longmen Grottoes, Yungang Grottoes (Shanxi Province) and Mogao Grottoes (Gansu Province) are included by UNESCO to the list of World Heritage Sites. Most of the works in the Longmen Grottoes were created in the VI and VII centuries AD during the reign of Northern Wei and Tang dynasties.



Typically in guide books is written that the grottoes are located to the south of Luoyang in 12-15 km, but if we consider a distance from the new railway station for high speed trains, then in 5 km.



From the bus-stop to the entrance of the territory with grottoes it is necessary to pass through a pedestrian street filled with all kinds of small shops.




The entrance ticket costs 120 yuan (708 roubles or 19.5 USD).
Chinese attractions are rapidly becoming more and more expensive.




Under the bridge is located an entrance to the territory of the grottoes. On the way back visitors, having made a circle, are returning over the bridge from the opposite side of the river.




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A walk along the kilometer long mountainside with grottoes begins.




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Xiangshan Buddhist Temple (香山寺 - Xiāngshānsì).
Not far from it is the tomb of Bai Juyi /772—846/ (白居易 - Bái Jūyì), a Chinese poet of the Tang Dynasty.




Stone with patterns similar to peony flowers.




This group of three caves is called Binyang (宾阳三洞 - Bīnyáng sāndòng). They were carved from 500 to 524 AD.




Sakyamuni Buddha in the central cave of Binyang.




A small niche in the left wall of the Binyang cave.




Inside of the niche.




Moya Three Buddha Niche (摩崖三佛 - Móyá sān fú). A head of a six-meters height Buddha Maitreya seated on a square pedestal, looks some like the stone heads of the olmec indians.




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Cave of Ten Thousand Buddhas (万佛洞 - Wàn Fú dòng). Was constructed in 680.




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Lotus Flower Cave (莲花洞 - Liánhuā dòng).




The biggest cave — Fengxian Temple (奉先寺 - Fèngxiānsì).





View to the eastern bank of the Yi River




The bridge to the eastern bank is located at the end of the path along the mountainside with grottoes.




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View of the grottoes from the eastern bank of the Yi River.




Fengxian Temple, view from the eastern bank.
The height of the central sculpture of the Buddha Vairocana is 17 meters.




Face features of the Buddha Vairocana were made similar to the face of Wu Zetian (武则天 - Wǔ Zétiān), the only Empress of China. Work on the creation of the temple ended on December 30, 675 AD.




After visiting of the Longmen Grottoes I learned that in the evening they are very beautifully illuminated.
In my opinion, cave niches, stuffed with modern lamps, look strange.




All these caves remind me the nests of sand martins.




Chinese fans shop on the way from the grottoes to the bus stop.


Continuation of the story >>>>>   Xiaolangdi Dam







  2014:    
» Preparation   » Route of my trip
» Taiyuan
» Pingyao
» Mianshan
» Linfen
» Huashan
» Luoyang
» Handan
» Beijing

Luoyang - subsections:
» Luoyang (21)
» Longmen Grottoes (32)
» Xiaolangdi Dam (31)
» Old Town (20)
» Home Inn (Tanggong Road) (5)
» Railway stations (24)

© Rem Sapozhnikov, 2014 - <e-mail>
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