Binxian Great Buddha Temple is located about 10 km from the west of Binxian County, and to the south side of Xian-Lanzhou Highway (312 National Highway). It is famous for its gigantic Amitabha statue and other refined buddha grottos, which are delicate and majestically sculpted and were included in the World Heritage List on June 22, 2014. It is regarded as the 'First Wonder in Shaanxi Province' and a bright pearl on the Silk Road.
History of the Binxian Great Buddha Temple
In 628, Tang Emperor Li Shimin asked people to build a temple to celebrate his mother's 60th birthday, so it was originally called Qingshou Temple (Celebrating Birthday Temple). In fact, the grottoes were built during the Northern Dynasties (386-581) and some Buddhist statues were carved at that time as well. There are 130 grottoes and 1,980 statues, which are divided into the Great Buddha Grotto, Cave of a Thousand Buddhas (Qian Fo Grotto), Buddha Cave (Arhat Cave) and Zhangba Buddha Grotto.
What to see?
Binxian Great Buddha Grotto
Standing in the center of this temple, It is the largest cave. A gigantic Amitabha stands in the middle of this grotto, which is 20 meters high and whose fingers are two meters tall. It is the largest Buddha statue in Shaanxi Province. On either side stand Bodhisattva Dashizhi and Kwan-yin Bodhisattva who are both 17.6 meters high. They are called the 'Three Saints in Paradise'. In addition, many niches in the wall contain about 200 Buddha and Bodhisattva statues of various different sizes.
Thousand Buddhas Cave (Qian Fo Grotto)
It is situated in the east of the Great Buddha Grotto. The main statue is Maitreya with his disciples, Bodhisattvas and Heracles standing besides him. In other niches, most of the statues consist of one Buddha and two Bodhisattvas or one Buddha with two disciples and two Bodhisattvas. The Bodhisattvas complete with graceful poses and flowery clothes look like beautiful dancers. Therefore, they are considered by many visitors to be 'the Venus's of the East'.
Buddha Cave (Arhat Cave)
It sits on the west side of the Great Buddha Grotto. The principal statue is Sakyamuni and one of its retinues, Wenshu Bodhisattva, who rides on a life-like lion. The lion is finely engraved finely with a bell on its neck and is posed whisking its tail. There are other statues of disciples, Bodhisattvas, Heracles and Vajras.
Zhangba Buddha Grotto
It is located about 200 meters from the west of the Great Buddha Grotto. Nine small rock caves are scattered on the cliff, containing 108 statues carved in a simple and dignified style. The main statue is Zhangba Buddha which is about seven meters high. The two Bodhisattvas on either side are about six meters high.
The Buddhist statues and stone carvings reflect the exquisite art and style of sculpture of the Tang Dynasty. This temple also preserves 177 inscriptions and six stone tablets engraved by visitors throughout history. Moreover, according to the traditional Chinese calendar, on March 8th every year, a temple fair is held here.
Entrance Fee: CNY 30
Opening Hours: 08:00-18:00
How to get there:
1. Take the bus from Xian, Xianyang or Qian Mausoleum (Qian Ling) to Changwu or Pingliang and get off at the Great Buddha Temple.
2. Take bus to Binxian County, and then transfer a bus to Changwu and get off at the Great Buddha Temple.