Literally translating as 'Happy Mountain', Leshan is home to the largest stone-carved and tallest pre modern statue in the world, the Leshan Grand Buddha. Sitting peacefully over the confluence of the Min, Dadu and Qingyi Rivers, the Buddha has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site-listed since 1996.
The 71m Buddha was originally built in AD713 under the instruction of Haitong, a Buddhist monk. During this period, the waters of the river were turbulent and traitorous, making trade and travel impossible. Haitong believed that the presence of the Buddha would calm the river below and sure enough, he was correct. Whilst plenty of praise was heaped on Buddha for calming the river, sceptics felt that it was in fact the excess rock from the construction that was cast into the river that calmed the waters.
The Grand Buddha incorporates an innovative design feature; a drainage system. A series of pipes draw rain water away from the statue, preventing weathering. The Buddha can be best viewed from a boat from the waters below, though it is also possible to climb to the bottom of the Buddha's feet, from where you can truly appreciate its colossal size.
What better way to experience it than on a Wendy Wu tour?
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