The Buddha of Leshan: A giant on the rock

The Buddha of Leshan: A giant on the rock

It is the biggest statue of a stone buddha in the city of Leshan, China. UNESCO included it in 1996 as a World Heritage Site.

During my stay in China, visiting the Leshan Giant Buddha was one of my priorities. However, Sichuan Province was in the opposite direction from my home city of Tianjin, and the cheapest train from Tianjin to Sichuan took 41 hours.

The first week of October is the China National Holiday: a week of celebrations in which schools and companies close and tourism increases.

Traveling during National Week will be always mean traveling alongside a massive scale of people, so … patience! Your personal space may be invaded very often in the most populous country in the world.

Naty, Eli and I woke up that day. We wanted to get there early, because we have never visited Leshan, which has as its great attraction the Giant Buddha and Mount Emei, one of the 4 sacred mountains of Buddhism. Leshan is also an amazing city in which I wanted to enter all the restaurants to eat the city’s star dish: Gong bao ji ding. It is my favorite dish, and I tasted it in its gastronomic cradle, I found it exquisite.

I remember that when we got to make our “epic visit,” a long row indicated the predictable …

“What a lot of people! Did all of China come to Leshan?”

My words made an impression upon my friends. For me, all 1,300,000,000 of China’s citizens were there that day.

“We are already here, so you have to see the good side to things!”

That was Eli, always with his eternal positivism.

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Once we got our tickets, we entered with the great expectation of seeing the majesty of the human intellect through art.

We were so excited that the four hours that we spent lined up were forgotten with the company of memories that still remain with me.

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We were the only foreigners in the endless line, and the Chinese did not hesitate to photograph us in the best paparazzi style, although some came to ask us for pictures with them. Fame sometimes comes in the least expected places! It was four hours under the sun: sweating, hungry, uncomfortably cramped, and then us smiling for photographs that will surely be on some Chinese social network.

It was the best time to speak Mandarin in a country where having 1m2 of space could be a luxury.

Waiting in the long line was filled with a sense of divinity and spirituality for me.

“Chessi, do not move. You have a very nice butterfly in your hair!”

Eli told me with the cell phone in her hand ready to photograph the feats of nature made art.

How, among so many people, did the butterfly choose me? Subtly, it rested in my hair and gave me the privilege of having the most beautiful hairstyle in the world, even if only for a few seconds. The best moments of life are definitely free. That is the secret, to appreciate those key moments that nourish my traveling soul.

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After the magic moment when I realized it was our turn, the Giant Buddha was in front of us.

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A sculpture carved in stone with 70 meters of height for the purpose of veiling 3 rivers, slowing the tides, protecting the boats and preventing the flood of water to the neighboring village. It is said that its construction took 90 years, and today, it is one of the impressive symbols with which China is identified.

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Its majesty was so impressive that it is a pleasure to share my story laden with good vibes from such an experience.

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