More Sichuan: Post Pandas

I’ve gotten comments that Jen’s emails are a little…detailed, so I’ve written just about the highlights of our adventure.

After visiting the Panda Sanctuary and seeing the temple in Chengdu, we took a bus to Le Shan to see the biggest Buddha in the world “Da Fo” (when Chinese people say it, it sounds like Dafur).

From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges

This Buddha was commissioned by a monk to stop the flooding from the river. All of the silt spilled into the river from carving the Buddha created a kind of barrier that reduced the flooding – so the Buddha worked!

We took a boat out to see it first. For a while, all you can see is the red cliffs, because he’s carved into the side, set back from the water’s edge. Then, as you approach, he appears from behind the cliff – a course of “Whoa!”‘s came from our boat.

From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges

The carving isn’t as intricate as other Buddha’s, like Luoyang, instead kind of simple, a little angular, smooth, but it gives it a kind of peaceful feeling because it’s so simple.

We also went up close to the Buddha, though we didn’t go down the side because we had to make our bus to Chongqing (Jen’s itinerary was ambitious), but we got up close to the head. His ear was taller than me!

From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges

After the Buddha, we took a mini bus to Chongqing. It was a four hour ride, but it was through some beautiful rural scenery – rice paddies, old farm houses, hills, and even a pottery kiln.

From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges

The next morning, we visited the Dazu Caves. There are three very important religious carving collections in China, including Dazu and Luoyang. Dazu town was beautiful by itself – clean air, blue sky with puffy white clouds, more rice paddies and farms, very relaxing compared to the dusty city bussle of Chongqing.

The Dazu carvings are smaller than Luoyang, but much more intricate. Some of the carvings date back to 11 AD, which is hard to believe because they are so well preserved, probably due to the overhang of the caves that keeps rain away.

From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges
From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges
From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges
From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges
From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges
From Sichuan-Chongqing-Three Gorges

(I took lots of pictures – you can click on them to see the whole album)

I wish we had been able to spend more time in the caves (Anyone who has gone to a museum with Matt and I knows that we take forever, reading every plaque, marveling over every detail – shopping with me is a very similar experience, which is why I usually prefer to shop alone.) But we had to get to our Three Gorges “cruise” before it left – more about this later.


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