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Giant Buddha Temple, Zhangye

A couple of year ago I was travelling through China’s Hexi Corridor (or Gansu Corridor) in search of remnants of the Great Wall. This part of the world was where the Qin Dynasty, First Emperor had to defend his nation against the powerful confederation of nomads called the “Xiongnu”. This threat was so great that the First Emperor began building earliest sections of the Great Wall. The area was a particularly important part of the Silk Road.

Anyway, enough of the history lesson, it was late morning and hunger drove us to seek out lunch in a town called “Zhangye”, and it turns out this town had a lot more to offer than just a decent bowl of noodles.

Aside from me, Zhangye has also been visited by the Italian traveller Marco Polo no less, and there is also a tale which suggests that a Yuan Dynasty queen gave birth to Kublai Khan there too. Zhangye is also famous for the Giant Buddha Temple complex which consists of the Giant Buddha Hall, the Buddhist Classics Hall, and a thirteen-storey Clay Pagoda.

The two-storey Giant Buddha Hall houses one of China’s biggest indoor buddha statues, and it is massive.

The gold-plated and painted Giant Buddha is made out of clay and lies in the Nirvana position. The Giant Buddha of Zhangye is 34 metres long, 7.5 metres shoulder to shoulder and has feet that are about 4 metres long… and the ears are 2 metres long – amazing!!

The temple, which was built in 1098, was being renovated whilst I was there and I got a couple of nice pictures of the workers, and the Buddha of course.

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The Harebeat

It’s a beautiful temple! I was hitchhiking towards Lanzhou with a friend, we saw a sign on the highway that there’s a temple in the city, so we decided to go check it out.. We didn’t what a famous temple it is!

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