Approximately 1.5 hours by car northwest of Chonqging are the 50,000 Buddhist stone sculptures of Dazu. The most famous can be visited on the North Mountain (Bei Shan) and around Treasure Chest Mountain (Baoding Shan). In the 9th century, a military outpost of the Shu Kingdom was located at the foot of the North Mountain. Many Buddhists sought refuge here during persecution. A general gave the orders to build the first sculptures. Today they are world heritage sites and are protected by UNESCO.
On the way to from North Mountain to Treasure Chest Mountain, there is a good opportunity to witness the country life of the Chinese. Agriculture in China is much more similar to garden work. Each square meter is intensively worked by hand with great effort. Large agricultural machinery is practically unknown. Only sometimes can small tractors be seen.
Noodles, hanging like laundry to dry, are also another scene from everyday life.
The life of a large family takes place on the street. This doesn't change the good mood.
A brick factory, looking like a hill, in the middle of the landscape. Horses are the only mode of transport.
In addition to Baoding Shan and Emei Shan, the Longevity Temple is one of the holiest places for Buddhists in China. The temple was built in 1178 and is still a monastery today.
Treasure Chest Mountain with its 10,000 sculptures has become a bible written in stone for the Buddhists. The sculptures show the Buddhist deities. They also show many examples of actions and their various punishments after death. Punishment can be avoided if you live a devout life and enter into nirvana. In addition to the sleeping Buddha is Guanyin, the God of Mercy with 1000 hands and 1000 eyes. It is the best known sculpture and appeared earlier in the form of a man and later in the form of a women, as seen here during the Song Dynasty.
Around 200 km southwest of Dazu we come to Zigong. Here you can find China's best known site for dinosaur remains. The modern museum contains around 20 complete skeletons of various dinosaurs, including the largest lower leg bone ever found. It is 4.3 m long. The skeletons are between 205 and 135 million years old.
In Zigong we also find a very interesting Museum of Salt. The structure was once built as a guest house by the salt guild. In addition to its architectural beauty, it presents Chinese methods of mining salt over time in an interesting way.
After another hour by car northwest of Zigong, you reach Leshan. Leshan is known for having the largest Buddha in the world as well as the Lingyun and Wuyou Temples. In the 8th century, it took 90 years to build the 71 m high Buddha.
Emei Mountain is one of the 4 holy mountains in China and symbolizes fire. Our guide had great respect for the wild mountain monkeys, who do not appear that holy. By car you can drive along a beautiful winding road to an altitude of 2500 m above sea level. After a half an hour of walking through the obligatory souvenir streets you reach the cable car which carries you another 500 m higher.
This older gentleman, accompanied by his daughter, has been traveling for two weeks already. They climbed the mountain by foot over the course of several days after spending several days traveling here from around the Peking area by train. The man's wish is to personally read a famous written scroll which is kept in the monastery.
The original daoistic Crane Temple is famous for its library and its preservation and continued development of medical knowledge.
The view from the 3000 m peak is breathtaking, as long as there are no clouds. When the view is clear, it is possible to see the first peaks of the Himalayas.
In addition to leaving devotional bits of paper, some confused Buddhists have fallen down the cliff in order to reach nirvana. The temple was completely rebuilt following a fire where everything was burnt down except for the bell. Even the three Bodhisattvas in the main hall are not the original ones.
Among the over 200 temples that existed at one time, only 20 still remain today. The rest were mainly destroyed during the Cultural Revolution.
The close connection of the temple to Tibetan Buddhism can be seen through its visitors.
The Wannian Temple is a little different than other temples. Also known as the Temple of Eternity, or actually the Temple of 10,000 Years, since 10,000 is the highest number in the Chinese numerical system, the Wannian Temple demonstrates strong Indian influences. It is the oldest surviving temple on Emei Mountain. The bronze statue of the bodhisattva Puxian, placed upon an elephant with 6 teeth, towers above the landscape of this magnificent garden temple.
In the evening when the city is colorfully lit up, you can enjoy the culinary delights of Chinese cuisine at one of the many outdoor restaurants.
China also produces excellent wine even if the consumption per capita is only half a glass per year.
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