Water Curtain Cave, also known as Shuilian Dong,is an appealing destination characterized by rich Buddhist scriptures and charming natural landscapes. The scenic area is located in Luban Gorge in Wushan County to the west of Tianshui, Gansu Province.Housing eight dagobas and mural paintings that cover an area of 2,000 square meters, the cave is a treasure house of Buddhism. Initially built in the Five Hus and Sixteen States (304 - 439), it was renovated several times during successive dynasties. Now Water Curtain Cave is the second largest cave complex in Tianshui, following Maiji Caves located at the southeast of the city.
What to see?
Water Curtain Cave Complex is composed of five grottoes known individually as Xiansheng Pond, Lashao Temple, Thousand-Buddha Cave, Water Curtain Cave, and Sanqing Cave. The former four are especially famous. The most famous attraction in the scenic area to the south of Lashao Temple and Thousand-Buddha Cave. It is a huge arch cave that measures 50 m long, 30 m high, and 20 m deep. In the rainy season, rains cascade down from the top edge of the cave like a water curtain, thus giving the cave its name. Within the cave, there are several Buddhist temples and pavilions. The water curtain, temples, murals, and Buddhas form a fascinating scene.
After walking west for a few minutes from Xiansheng Pond, you will reach a bus stop, where shuttle buses to the core scenic area are available. Near the terminus is Lashao Temple. What impress visitors most are three sculptures presenting a majestic view on the cliffside. Two Bodhisattvas stand at each side while a tall Buddha is sitting in the middle. The huge Buddha is 40 m (131 feet) tall, acclaimed as the largest cliff alto-relievo in China. Over the sculptures are wind eaves where there are copper bells that chime in the breeze. It is the large Buddha sculpture that earns the reputation for Lashao Temple or even for the whole scenic spot.
At the west of Lashao Temple is the Thousand-Buddha Cave or Qianfo Cave, which gets its name because of the nearly one thousand Buddhas stored in it. Those Buddhas are still bright and vivid since they are well protected from the sunlight. What attract visitors are over thirty niches, hundreds of Buddha sculptures, and large-scale painted murals.
Apart from rich Buddhist murals and sculptures, bewitching natural landscapes in the scenic spot is another delight. Water Curtain Cave may be hailed as a fairyland that holds undulating hills, fragrant flowers, twittering birds and murmuring brooks.
Entrance Fee: CNY 40
Transport: From Tianshui, visitors can take a bus to Wushan County from Nanhu Bus Station. Get off at Luomen Town. The fare is about CNY 30. After arrival, take a cab or mini bus to the scenic area. The cab may charge CNY 30 to 40 and the mini bus may charge CNY 5 per person. Or visitors can take a train from Tianshui to Wushan or Luomen. If they arrive at Wushan, they can take a mini bus to Zhonglou Mountain or Dangkou and get off at the scenic area.