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Longmen Grottoes

As one of the four major grottoes on silk road tour destinations of China, Longmen Grottoes is a must-see attraction in Luoyang, Henan Province, bordered by the Yihe River, the grottoes are divided into two parts: the West Mountain and the East Mountain. The West Mountain Grottoes, excavated in the Northern Dynasty and the Sui and Tang Dynasties, are the essence of the Longmen, include Lushena Buddha statue of Fengxian Temple and "Twenty Goods of Longmen" in Guyang Cave.

Introduction of Longmen Grottoes:
Longmen Mountain View is the first of eight sceneries in Luoyang since ancient times. As Bai Juyi once said, "Four Seizures in Luoyang, the victory of mountains and rivers, Longmen topped the list". it has picturesque scenery and the pines and cypresses, between the two mountains, the Yihe River ripples, and the silky surface ripples in layers, which is quite worth to visit.

Why is worth to visit?
As a world cultural heritage, Longmen Grottoes has a long history and profound cultural connotations. Since Emperor Xiaowen of the Northern Wei Dynasty moved to Luoyang and excavated the ancient Yangdong cave in the west mountain of Longmen, it has been more than 400 years since the construction of seven dynasties, which has formed the magnificent Longmen Grottoes.

What to visit in Longmen Grottoes?
Longmen Grottoes have 2345 cave niches, more than 2800 inscriptions, 70 pagodas and 100,000 statues. When you visiting the Longmen Grottoes, you will be astonished by this thousand-year art treasure house and beautiful sculpture art.

Guyang Caves:
Guyang Cave is one of the oldest caves In Longmen, built from AD 428 to 488; it has comprehensive images of the royal family and the nobles of the Northern Wei period. Three tiers of Buddha statues in different sizes are carved on the north and the south walls. The states in typical Wei fashion, feature elongated necks and boxlike heads with stylistically rich patterns.

The Three Binyang Caves:
The Three Binyang Caves were commissioned by Emperor Xuanwu of the Northern Wei to commemorate his parents, and later himself. The Bingyang middle cave took 802,326 workers 24 years to complete. Curtains and flower strings are carved on the ceilings of the caves with lotus patterns dominating the floor area. Inside the entrance on the two walls, there are large embossed carvings called Emperor as Donor with Attendants and Empress as Donor with Attendants, The pictures vividly illustrate imperial Buddhist practices during the Northern Wei.

Fengxian Temple:
The Longmen Caves had two high periods of development, the devoutly Buddhist Northern Wei dynasty initiated the project as an expression of Buddhist devotion and built a large number of caves. But it was in the Tang dynasty when the real masterpieces were carved. The Tang carvings are lively and emotional, and they depict commoners, an oft-ignored subject matter.
The statue of the Losana Buddha in Fengxian Temple was built in the Tang dynasty by Emperor Gaozong. The statue is over 56 feet (17 m)tall with the head measuring 13 feet (4 m)and the ears almost 6.6 feet(2 m) long. Empress Wu Zetian, the first and only empress of China, donated a large portion of her cosmetics budget towards the construction of this statue and since she footed the bill for this statue, it's believed the face of the Buddha was carved in her likeness. This statue, together with the six accompanying statues, is considered the highest development of Buddhist carving art in China. With their lively expressions, lithe bodies and elegantly detailed clothing, they are a strong contrast to the heavy and motionless Northern Wei statues.

Ten Thousand Buddha Cave:
Ten Thousand Buddha Cave is another Tang masterpiece. It was built in AD 680 to honor the piety of Emperor Gaozong and Empress Wu. On the north and south walls of the cave. There are more than 15, 000 carved small Buddha images. The central Buddha, with a plump serene face, sits on a lotus flower throne with his legs crossed, the vajras supporting the seat have a robust and forceful form. Beyond the halo of the main Buddha are 54 lotus flower bronze offering bodhisattvas The north and south sides are covered with 15,000 diminutive Buddha figures. Below these tiny Buddhas are twelve apsareses, either dancing gracefully or playing musical instruments. Because the cave is protected behind a metal fence. binoculars are recommended to get a clear view of the small Buddhas.

Other historical information of Longmen Grottoes:
Royal sponsorship was the main driving force in constructing the Longmen Caves, although historical records and stone inscriptions reveal that the nobility, commoners and even foreign Buddhists all contributed towards the construction, only the emperor could summon the massive labor force and financial resources needed to fully realize such a massive project. The caves were built by the emperors as a tribute to their ancestors, but also out of vanity as the caves were a symbol of their own grandeur. In more practical terms, the emperors also saw themselves as living Buddhas and the caves were a tool to impress upon the masses their divinity and gained their obedience.

When is the best time to travel to Longmen Grottoes?
Every April to November are the best time to travel to Longmen scenic spot, although it is suitable for tourism all the year round, however, as we say the different seasons have different views. In April, the annual Luoyang Peony Flower Festival, will be held at Luoyang, and at that time, it is the golden period of Luoyang tourism, travelers can not only enjoy the beauty of penoy flowers, but also experience the culture of ancient capital.

Travel route of Longmen Grottoes:
Longmen Grottoes Scenic Area has planned a tour route for tourists, from Xishan Grottoes - Dongshan Grottoes - Xiangshan Temple - Baiyuan, along a direction, it will take about half a day to visit.

Travel tips of Longmen Grottoes:
1.During the Luoyang Peony Flower Festival, the numerous of visitors will increase. For those visitors who are not interested in peony, they can choose to avoid this period of time.
2.Longmen scenic spot parking lot is about 800 metres away from the scenic spot ticket office. Tourists can take the battery cars to the scenic area.
3.There is also free WiFi coverage in the scenic area. Each scenic spot can scan the QR codes to listen the explanations, which is very convenient.
4.During the Qingming Festival, the "Peony Culture Festival" and the "May Day" holidays and the "National Day", the tickets will be sold half an hour in advance, and closed at 7:00 PM in half an hour.

The admission fee:
Peak season: 90 RMB/Per person
Off season: 45 RMB/Per person

Opening Time:
1st February to 31st March ( 8.00 AM to 5.30 PM )
1st April to 7th October ( 8.00 AM to 5.30 PM )
8th October to 14th November ( 8.00 AM to 5.30 PM )
15th November to 31st January ( 8.00 AM to 5.00 PM )
 
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