- Travel Guide
- - Bingling Temple Grottoes
- - The Museum of Gansu Province
- - The Waterwheel Exhibit Park
- - Zhongshan Iron Bridge
Located 35 kilometers (22 miles) on the Little Jishi Mountain in the northwest of Yongjing County of Gansu Province, the Bingling Temple Grottoes is displayed on the steep cliff that is 2 kilometers (1.2 miles) long from south to north with its initial name of the Tangshu Grottoes, and it is considered “One of the Three Grottoes in Gansu Province” as well as “One of the Five Grottoes in China”, which is very grand and splendid above the ground.
The Bingling Temple grottoes was built in 420 A.D during the Northern and Southern Dynasties (420 A.D-581 A.D.) with a history of 1600 years of history, which was called the Longxing Temple in the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D.-907 A.D.) and the Lingyan Temple in the Northern Song Dynasty (960 A.D.-1,127 A.D.), and it was renamed by Bingling Temple in the Ming Dynasty (1,368- A.D.-1,644 A.D.). The grottoes in the temple have a substantive influence on Chinese Buddhism, Pure Land Sect, Huayan Sect and Zen Buddhism.
The main features of the Bingling Temple Grottoes
Inheriting the folk arts as well as integrating the exotic Buddhism arts, the Bingling Temple Grottoes is famous all over the world for its vivid sculptures and paintings with a simple and brand new style, whose basso-relievo pagodas and frescoes can match with the one in Mogao Grottoes in Dunhuang City and Maiji Mountain Grottoes in Tianshui City of Gansu Province.
The grottoes in the temple can be divided into three sections: the Upper Temple Section, the Cave Channel Section and the Lower Temple Section, among which the Lower Temple Section is the most splendid, displayed perfectly on a cliff that is 200 meters (219 yars) long and 60 meters (197 feet) high. There are 196 grottoes, 694 stone sculptures and 82 clay sculptures as well as 900 square-meter (1,076 square yards) fresco area in Bingling Temple Grottoes, among which the biggest statue of the Sitting Maitreya Buddha is as high as 27 meters (89 feet) and the smallest statue is only 10 centimeters (0.01 feet) high. There are:2 grottoes with only one niches excavated during the West Qin Period （385 A.D－431 A.D, 8 grottoes with 25 niches excavated during the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 A.D.-534 A.D.), 2 grottoes excavated during the Northern Zhou Dynasty (557 A.D.-581 A.D.), 2 grottoes excavated during the Sui Dynasty (581 A.D.-618 A.D.) and 20 grottoes with 113 niches excavated during the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D.-907 A.D.), among which the ones of the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D.-907 A.D.) have the highest art value of all, and authentic calligraphies of Faxian a famous calligrapher in the West Qin period（385 A.D－431 A.D）is well-preserved in the grottoes, which has high historical value.
The main body of the grottoes is composed of the statues and the frescoes, among which there is a big Buddha in the Tangshu Grotto, and the grotto is 15 meters (49 feet) high, 8 meters (26 feet) deep and 20 meters wide (22 yards), known as the earliest and best-preserved grotto in China. The No. 171 Grotto is as high as 27 meters (89 feet) high in a grand and magnificent style, where the statue of the Buddha Maitreya is enshrined. There is a Crouching Buddha with 8.6 meters (9.4 yards) long in No.16 Grotto, which was the only crouching Buddha in the Northern Wei Dynasty (386 A.D.-534 A.D.), and the statue of the hand- maiden with 25 centimeters (0.03 feet) high in the grotto fully represents the style and features of the Tang Dynasty (618 A.D.-907 A.D.).
It is located 35 kilometers (22 miles) on the little Jishi Mountain in the northwest of Yongjing County of Gansu Province, so you can take a bus from Lanzhou City to Liujiaxia Reservoir in one hour, and then you can take a yacht to get there directly with 2 hours. It is open to the public from 9:00 am to 5:00 pm every day from July to November every year.
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Highlights: The Forbidden City, Short Hutong Tour in Xicheng District, The Mutianyu Great Wall, Temple of Heaven, Summer Palace