Longman's Grotto and Shaolin Temple
22.05.2009 - 31.05.2009
We were staying at the university housing which does not serve breakfast so I waked down to Mc Donald's where we'd buy coffee when Nate and Bekki lived there. It is the thick strong coffee served in China.
Then it was off to the Longman's grotto just outside of the city. These grotto contain thousands of Buddhas carved into the stone cliff faces on each side of the river. Most are in shallow caves which were painted at the time. The carvings started in the 500's and continued for 200 years.
There are some Buddha which are only inches high that line the walls of caves and then others are maybe 4' high. At the end of walk Buddha with gate keepers have been carved that stand at least 200-300 ft high.
Mike works with heavy equipment and drilling thru all types of materials. He just stood in shock over the carvings to think of how they could achieve such a feat.
From the grotto we went straight to the Shaolin Temple. This complex extends over many acres built in the hills above Louyang and can easily take 3-4 hours to see. There are 3 areas in the complex : pagodas, the temple and a martial arts display.
We started with the pagodas which is an area of individual pogodas in which important people are buried in. The oldest was built in about 400 AD. These are out of stone and brick standing about 16 to 20' high.
From the pagodas we walked down to the temple which is actually several temples in a line up the hill. Buildings line the right and left containing various writings. We saw a couple used for rituals of one thing or another. We never had time to tour the martial arts complex.