One popular day trip out of Chengdu led me out to Leshan to ogle the Big Buddha. I was dismayed when told at the main entrance that only taopiao (literally: set tickets) were sold there, meaning that the only way to gain entry to see the Leshan Buddha was to also buy the set of tickets that led to some Buddha complex with the most Buddha statues in the county or some sort. It was only at the end of the day when I left by a side entrance that I realised that tickets only to Leshan were sold at a minor side gate. Yet another buyer beware warning.
I figured that I’d gone this far so I might as well pay the extra and wander through the amusement park anyway. There was a huge sleeping Buddha likeness carved into a hill face…
… a series of sitting Buddhas carved into a hill face…
… and lots of little Buddhas carved into niches behind a hill face!
I quite enjoyed this bodhisattva with the infinite arms, it was just too bad the bare bulb lighting was so unflattering.
However, I wasn’t too impressed with the deliberately neglected and moss-ridden figures outside.
This one of the Laughing Buddha wasn’t too grotesque, just that it was too bad his belly was too far up to rub for good luck.
After a rather ho-hum whiz past the rest of the statues came a very steep flight of stairs…
… that rather surprisingly came with its own Health & Safety warning! The sign basically advises all those with acrophobia, high blood pressure, heart problems, the old, young and weak to take the other gentler route for the sake of life and safety. Rather impressive for China, I felt.
The steep set of stairs of course led up to the entrance to Leshan, but enroute I stopped several times to admire the lovers’ locks lining the railing. It’s typical of Chinese custom for lovers to place a lock on the railing and throw away the key to symbolise their everlasting love. Judging from the numerous locks there, Chinese people can be very sentimental.