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Bingling Temple

Situated in Jishi Mountain, Binglingsi is 35 kilometers south-west of Yongjing county in Gansu Province. "Bingling" means "thousand Buddhas" or "ten-thousand Buddhas" in the Tibetan language. It is a series of Buddhist caves that are situated on a not easily accessible cliff face. Binglingsi is one of the ten largest Chinese grottoes.Binglingsi

There have been 200 grottoes but at present there is 183 left. These are some of the oldest caves in China and thankfully, despite their age, they still contain many well preserved statues and murals. Although a little out of the way, the grottoes are a day trip that should not be missed.

The Grottoes was first constructed in the Western Qin Dynasty, and continuously went on through the dynasties of Northern and Western Wei, Northern Zhou, Shui, Tang, Yuan, Ming, and Qing. It consists of three parts namely, Shangsi, Donggou, and Xiasi. Shangsi has been destoryed by fire and the remaining here are just a few statues of Buddhas. Xiasi contains 34 caves and 14 niches that still exist. Altogether, there are 694 stone statues, 82 clay figures, 5 stone carvings and clay pagodas and 900 square meters of murals.

Cave No.171 sits the largest Buddhist statue that is 27 meters high with its upper body carved into the cliff and the lower body made of clay. Grotto No.169 is the tallest one carved within a natural cave 8 meters deep, 26 meters wide and 18 meters high, the shape of which is similar to that of the opposite mountain rang across the river. Besides, the walls of the grotto are covered with niches, only 24 of which exsit, enshrining 19 stone statues and 39 clay figures. Here also contains the largest mural of the temple, which is still bright and beautiful in color.

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