Buddhist caves : Bingling Si


Our first visit of Buddhist caves in China was not a success as we were disappointed and hurt to see so many statues and frescoes broken or damaged. The caves at Bingling Si changed all that. Part of the explanation lies in the fact that we had to take a small boat to get to the caves. These are located on the Liujiaxia Shiku reservoir (bless you) on a branch of the Yellow river. For the last week or so, we have been crossing one huge river after another only to be told, to our disappointment, that it was a "branch of the Yellow River". We haven't seen the real thing yet... The reservoir and the remoteness of the caves is what has saved them over the years of vandalism that went on elsewhere. The site itself is spectacular as the caves and sculptures were carved in 60m high gorges and soaring cliffs. Some of the cavities are man-made as the rock is porous. 




Again unfortunately, no pictures were allowed. We managed to take a couple though (Kathleen braved this and took plenty with another camera). We were alone to visit these works of art that had been saved for nearly 2000 years and found it exhilarating. 


Both the sculptures and most of the frescoes have been preserved. Some of these paintings had not been restored and are over 1500 years old. The style of the time (tang dynasty) was to have fat and (un)healthy looking images of Buddha. The star of the caves is this 27m high Buddha (that feels it is much taller, look at the size of the stairs leading up to the top) that was carved in the rock.



Some of the 183 caves were lost when the reservoir was built. We did not understand why no effort was made to get them out before concrete was poured over them and they were lost forever.


Troopie going to the other side of the reservoir. 


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