Exploring Yungang Caves

Yungang Caves, as one of the four great caves in China, is located 16 meters west of the city Datong, Shanxi province. All together, there are 252 grottoes with more than 51,000 stone statues.However, due to the earthquakes and erosion by wind and water, about one-third of the grottoes have crumbled in ruins. It was a great pity to see the great examples of rock-cut architecture that noted for the 5th and 6th century Buddhist grottoes sculptures and reliefs being destroyed. Many holes that caused by the repair jobs were found on the statues, especially among the giant ones. Nearly half of the statues were “disabled”, some lost their eyes or ears and some only have small part of their body left. Since most of the grottoes are in the open air, the deflation is unavoidable although the renovation project never stopped. Therefore, anyone who is interested in these remarkable Buddhist temple grottoes should take your time.We came here at May. The weather is still a little bit cold, but the bright sky and fresh air let all of my friends in a perfect mood.The tallest Buddha statue is 17 meters and his nose is even taller than a normal man. Every statue is carefully carved, even the small one with the size of the fingernail. The history of the caves can be traced back to the Northern Wei Dynasty, which means they have gone through over 1,500 years. The governor highly valued the Buddhism and built a large amount of the Buddhist architecture. It is amazing to accomplish such wonderful masterpiece at that time. When look up to the solemn and magnificent Buddha statues, you will be amazed at the extensive and profound Buddhist culture whether you are a Buddhist or not.A “Golden Tree” with the wish for great fortune was plant behind the temple.Besides the Buddha statues, there are also many Buddhist temples in the scenic spot. Surrounded by a crystal clear lake, the temples are consecrated with different Buddha and provide incense for tourists to pray for good luck. There are also many shops selling souvenirs like gangue-made bracelet and local artwork, such as “Yungang silk person” and “Datong porcelain”.