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Home >> China Attractions >> Lanzhou Attractions >> Bingling Si (Thousand Buddha Caves Temple)

Bingling Si (Thousand Buddha Caves Temple)

Located 75km south-west of Lanzhou, this set of Buddhist grottoes carved into the cliffs of a 60m high gorge is one of the more unusual sights in Gansu. Isolated by the waters of the reservoir Liujiaxia Bingling Si (Thousand Buddha Caves Temple) Shiku on the Huanghe (Yellow River).

The reservoir itself at one time actually threatened to inundate the caves, but a levy now protects the area from flooding during high-water periods.

Bingling Si is also called the Qian Fo Dong (Thousand Buddha caves), although in fact the total number of caves is only 183. The setting is spectacular, with soaring cliffs composed of eroded and porous rock with numerous natural cavities. The creators of these grottoes dangled from ropes while carving their masterpieces into the face of the cliffs- one has to wonder how man artisans fell to their deaths.

The oldest caves have been repaired and added to on numerous occasions since they were built during the Western Qin dynasty. The cave contains 694 statues, 82 clay sculptures and a number of frescoes. Cave 169, containing a Buddha and two bodhisattvas, is one of the oldest 420 and best preserved in china. Most of the other caves were completed during the prosperous tang period. The star of the caves is the 27m high seated statue of Maitreya, the future Buddha cave 172.

Lanzhou Attractions
White Pagoda Hill Labrang Monastery Gansu Provincial Museum
Bingling Si (Thousand Buddha Caves Temple)
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