“Dafo” = Big Buddha!!
It seems that all cultures have large icons or statues to show off to tourists. We visited one, the “Dafo,” which is Chinese for the “Big Buddha,” last weekend in the town of Leshan, about two hours south of Chengdu, capital of Sichuan Province.
The “Dafo” is big, 71 meters tall. It is the largest vertical Buddha in the world. His ears are 7m long, his shoulders 28m across, and his big toes 8.5m long!
The idea for this huge Buddha was thought up by a monk named Haitong, in AD 713. He hopeed by building it here on the banks of the confluence of the Dadu and Min Rivers, the Buddha would “calm the swift rivers and protect boatmen from the lethal currents.,,” (Lonely Planet China guide). It was completed ninety years after Haitong died, and so much rock was excavated from the sculpting, and dumped into the river, that the river was, in fact, “calmed.” The locals, of course, claim it is because of Buddha(Lonely Planet again).
We were at the Big Buddha on a holiday weekend-Dragon Boat Festival, so there were a lot of Chinese there visiting it. There is a “Walk of the the 9 Turns” all the way to the bottom by Buddha’s big toes, that was jam-packed with people waiting to get down there, so they could look up and see the whole thing. We passed on the over-2-hour-wait to get down there.
It was a hot day when we were there, about 90 degrees, and still there were thousands of people. The Chinese revel in the simple, of viewing something like this…no rides or special effects…just being there together, viewing something massive.
Here’s another “Where’s Waldo?” picture at the Big Buddha.
This was a great place to be on Dragon Boat Weekend. People were happy, laughing, waiting patiently in line to see the Big Buddha.
So how does the “Big Buddha” compare to other tall icons?
So the winner is…”Dafo” the Big Buddha of Leshan, China, standing 71 meters tall. You have to see it to believe it!