De' Tour Guide

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Louyang : The Longmen Grottoes

Main Entrance to Long Men Grottoes Caves

The Long men Grottoes are on the Yihe River bank, some 12 kilometers from ancient city, about 30 minutes' drive. It is one of the three most important Buddhist sculptures and carvings in China. The Long men Grottoes enjoy a good location where two mountains confront each other between which flows the Yihe River.

A bridge connects Long Men Grottoes zone and another part

The grotto was first carved in North Wei Dynasty, over 1500 years ago and expanded through the succeeding East and West Wei Dynasties, North Qi Dynasty, North Zhou Dynasty, Sui and Tang Dynasties and was finally completed in North Song Dynasty. Over 500 years' renovation and expansion have created the prestigious world cultural site. The most significant chiseling activities happened in the Tang and Norh Wei Dynasties, which lasted over 150 years.

Spanning a length of around 1 kilometer on the hillside along the Yihe River, the niches resemble dozens of honeycombs dotting the area. There are about 2.100 grottoes and niches, over 40 crematory urns, 3,600 inscribed stone tablets and over 100,000 Buddhist images and statues. The largest one is 17 meters high while the smallest is a tiny as 2 cm. One third of the complex are works of the North Wei Dynasty. These masterpieces are the Binyang Cave, and Lianhua ( Lotus Cave). The impressive Qianxi Temple, Fengxian Temple, Wanfo Cave( Ten Thousand Buddhist Cave) are the highlights of the Tang Dynasty's carvings.

One of the Buddha Statue in Long Men Grottoes

One of the in-cave shots

The Longmen Grottos are of great value in world sculpture history and it has been listed in the World Cultural Heritage Site by the UNESCO. To protect such a valuable heritage site, the Chinese government as well as some influential world cultural organizations are trying hard to share this site with the whole word. A large-scaled renovation was undertaken in 2003 to keep the grottos in good condition.

Mini caves with mini statue

Enlarged mini statue

Giant Statue , some where damaged by theft. Mostly the buddha's head were the precious ones.

At times , we still need to " guard " the guards.

Toilets are meant for Men and Ladies. For those who are in between must get to the center ones


  1. Comments :In terms of geographical location, the magnificence of the carvings Longmen Grotto ranks the first among the three most significent Buddhism sculptures(Longmen, Dunhuang Grotto in Dunhuan, Gansu province in northwest China and Yungang Grotto in Shaanxi province)
  2. How to get there?
    Take bus No 81, 53,60 and the tourism line which departs from the Luoyang Railway Station daily.
  3. Don't wear brightly colored clothing otherwise you will attract variety of insects.
  4. You may consider to bring a camera with wide-angle lens to capture the scale of the cave art possible when it's impossible to back up.

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