Longmen Grottoes: Luoyang Dragon Gate Cliff Cave

Location: Luoyang, Henan, China

Longmen Grottoes , located on the bank of the Yi Riverbank, about 12 kilometers from Luoyang City. There are many caves and caves. More than 2,345 caves, over 3,600 stone inscriptions and images, including 100,000 statues of Buddha, oh my !! Like, how many are real?

The distinctive features of Longmen Grottoes beyond the eyes of the other caves are their geographic location. Prominent and elegant, surrounded by water, visitors can appreciate the beauty of the carvings of Buddhism as well. Not only that, this place is also classified as a place that has complete significance in terms of politics, economy, culture, religion, art, architecture, calligraphy, music, medicine, costumes, etc. It is another large museum that covers ancient Chinese history as well.

Longmen Grottoes are recognized for their historical value and world-class sculpture Worthy of preservation Until being registered as a World Heritage Cultural Heritage Organization by the UNESCO Organization (UNESCO)

Weather and acid rain are the main factors that can damage the tunnels and caves here. It can cause fissures at the rocky base, causing the tunnels to collapse. The acid rain itself can gradually Flows into tunnels and caves And destroys the precious sculpture, resulting in salt deposits directly on the surface of the sculpture as well But the Chinese government is not silent. He had to turn off the lime kiln. Including the factories around Longmen Cave !! And do not allow all vehicles to pass through at all.

Luoyang has been one of the great ancient capitals of China since prehistoric times. Currently located in Henan Province. (Henan) of China But what represents the supreme civilization of Luoyang, in particular, is evidence of the era when Buddhism began to flourish in China. It has been influenced by the culture of carving Buddha images on the limestone cliffs and caves in various caves from India, which is Longmen Grottoes or the Thais called Longmen Pha Cave. By interpreting the literal meaning that “Pha Dragon Gate Cave” is a cave shed on Longmen Mountain (Longmen) in the west and Xiangshan Mountain (Xiangshan) in the east. Flanked on either side of the Yi River (Yi) is full of carved Buddha images. It was a door of great miracles that opened into the southern city of Luoyang.

With the progress of China in the present day This allows me to take a leisurely day trip to this great World Heritage Site from Xian (Xian), about 400km away. By using the high-speed rail service of the Chinese railway It only takes about 1 hour and 45 minutes to get to Luoyang City High Speed ​​Rail Station, then take a taxi to the Tourist Center of Longmen Cave in 15 minutes. Starting at this center Which is about 2 kilometers away from the entrance to the cave, whoever took the car to stop here After purchasing a ticket Which is a set of tickets to visit 4 places in the cave area, including the west cave The caves to the east, Xiangshan Temple, and the tomb of the Tang Dynasty poet Bai Juyi (Bai Juyi), can also choose to walk on their own along a path with two shops and restaurants. way Or use the electric train (Pay a little more) to go down at the entrance at all. The entrance to the west starts from the cave in the west, Longmen Mountain, as mentioned above.

The route will be a one-way loop to the end of the caves on this side. Then walk across the bridge over the river to visit three other attractions on the east side. Back out in a circle Called having to exert a fair amount of effort Because besides the distance of about 1 kilometer of each river bank Still have to walk up and down the stairs along the cliff to see these carved cave sheds along the way.

Thousands of cliff sheds and caves on this cliff on the bank of the Yi River It was dug and carved along the path and looked like a honeycomb on the bank of the river. Just as I saw the overall cliff caves without even considering the details of each cave, it was already amazing. With over 2,300 of these caves there are countless caves, with more than 110,000 carved Buddha statues, not including other statues such as people, fairies, nangram and animals. There are also 2,800 stone inscriptions and more than 60 stupas, 70% of these caves are on Longmen Mountain and 30% are on the Xian Shan Mountain on the other side of the river.

All so This enormous sculpture has been around four to 500 years in total, dating from the late 5th century AD during the Northern Wei Dynasty. (Possessing northern China) when Emperor Xiaowen (Siao Wen) moved his capital to Luoyang, together with his belief in Buddhism. Long until the Tang Dynasty (C. 618-907) where Buddhism and various cultures flourished to the utmost that it could be called the golden age of China. When relocating to the capital at a later time Antiques and statues, especially the head and face, were cut and plundered, especially during World War II, when Japanese troops entered the area.

Until the Chinese government in the latter has realized the importance of this great civilization began to restore and conserve until it is as it is today. When the Japanese troops entered this area. Until the Chinese government in the latter has realized the importance of this great civilization began to restore and conserve until it is as it is today. When the Japanese troops came in this area. Until the Chinese government in the latter has realized the importance of this great civilization began to restore and conserve until it is as it is today.

In order to mention every one of these caves and hundreds of thousands of statues, it would be impossible. I would like to mention the main caves representing the era and showcasing the art and culture of the bygone era, and that still retain their remarkable integrity today. Three caves lined up by large Buddha statues are the Northern Cave. Central and Southern caves that tourists will walk to first after passing through the entrance.

This group of caves was constructed (carved) from the Northern Wei era and was added to the Tang Dynasty. Most notably, the central cave is said to have been made by Emperor Xuanwun (Xuan Wu) dedicated to his father, Emperor Xiaowen and his mother, who spent more than 20 years creating the works. Unfortunately, some of the wall carvings, especially those relating to the details of the emperor and the royal family, have been stolen and are already displayed in museums abroad.

After climbing the stairs and walking around the caves, the highlight is Fengxiansi Cave (Fengxiansi Cave), a large cave caves, 35 meters wide and 39 meters long. Most of the tourists crowded here. Even though he had to exert almost a hundred steps up the stairs to arrive As there is a completely beautiful Buddha Vairojana Buddha sculpture that is considered to be the largest Buddha statue of this Longmen Cliff Cave. With a large and large 17. At 14 meters, the head alone was 4 meters high and had a very graceful figure of the face. Can be seen clearly from the other side of the river. Flanked by a large statue of Ananda on the right and Maha Kassapa on the left. And the Bodhisattva flanked on both sides To the side of the pavilion are large statues of the Lord of the Earth and the other four guardians.

These statues were made in the Tang period by the royal family as their patron, especially Emperor Gaozong (Gao Zhong) and his wife, Wu Zetian ( Bushetian), who later became the first and only female empress of Chinese history. The cave sculpture is a royal (royal) cave carvings that was a prototype of Chinese art of the Tang Dynasty that later influenced and spread throughout all regions of China and around the world.

When you have seen the largest Buddha image It is inevitable that I will ask to see the smallest Buddha statue carved somewhat, the goal is Wanfo Cave (Wan Fo Cave) built in the times of Emperor Gaozong and Queen Buchektien. The cave is filled with 15,000 miniature Buddha statues that line the cave cavity. The smallest Buddha statue measures only 2 cm, and if you walk down the hill, you will find Guyang Cave (Guyang Cave), which is the oldest cave in the area. Northern Wei Dynasty Which goes back to the year 478, the cave is 11.20 meters high, 7.27 meters wide and 11.83 meters deep, with a sculpture of the Buddha on a high base with a lion at the bottom.

With the Bodhisattva flanked on both sides And small Buddha images in more than 1 nooks and nooks, 000 The most important figure is that there are more than 800 inscriptions on the walls in the North Wei style Chinese characters. Which is considered to be the most engraved cave in China Another very interesting cave is Yaofang Cave (Yao Fang Cave) because there are 140 recipes carved on the two sides of the cave entrance wall. Which covers from internal medicine To neurosurgery, general medicine And pediatrics Collected since the Northern Wei Dynasty until the Tang Dynasty.

As you cross the bridge over the Yuma River on the east side of Xiangshan Mountain, the cave cavity is quite hidden among the trees, about 500 meters long, not as clearly a bald cliff like the west bank. On this side there is an impressive sculpture. Avalokitesvara Bodhisattva Pang Sahasphuch Sahasanet (Thousand Hands) and Kanjingsi Cave (Tham Kan Jing Si), which contain 29 life-sized Arahants in various poses that look like real people. On the wall surrounding the seated Buddha image in the center. With goddesses and lotus flowers on the ceiling In the cave hall, approximately 11 square meters.

After passing from the Pha Salak cave line It is the way up to the Xiangshan Temple, originally a temple built during the Northern Wei Dynasty (AD 516) and was expanded later. It is considered the most important temple in Longmen District. The current temple was restored to the original temple approximately 300 years ago and was later enlarged. From the temple, there is a clear view of the river and cave. In addition to the church building, pagoda and bell tower that have been restored. There are also vacation homes of Chiang Kai Shek and Song Meiling. Who stayed here in 1936 as well

With the great and creative arts of the Chinese people in this area thousands of years ago. Including the cultural evolution Including the knowledge and various science that has been inscribed and created in this cave. It is no wonder that this place has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2000. I would say in advance not to believe the guidebooks or websites. Said that It took about two hours to visit this place. Because from my own experience At least it will take at least 5-6 hours if you want to see it thoroughly. More importantly, food supplies should be prepared to be able to walk and admire the grandeur of this place without losing your mood.