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Bingling Thousand Buddha Caves

On par with the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang and the Yungang Grottoes nearby Datong, this extensive cave site is one of the top places to visit while in the Lanzhou area. It is located in a canyon alongside the Yellow River in Yongjing County, about 100 kilometres south of Lanzhou. This site is also known as the Bingling Temple. These unique caves have been in existence for over 1,500 years.
Bingling consists of a large group of grottoes with carvings of various images of Buddha inside. A walk through the grottoes offers a great insight into Chinese history. The design of each individual grotto is a reflection of the style of the dynasty when it was built. From the Western Qin, Song, Yuan, Ming and Qing Dynasty, each representing Chinese culture throughout history.  The grottoes took over 1,000 years to complete and represent the work and collaboration of thousands of artists and worshippers throughout the years.
There are around 180 caves on site, with 694 stone statues as well as 82 clay sculptures. While a lot of structures have suffered weather damage, many still remain preserved over the years. The largest statue is the Maitreya Buddha, standing at approximately 100 feet (27 metres) tall.
There are no roads in the vicinity and travel by boat is the only way to see the grottoes, via the Liujiaxia Reservoir during the summer and fall months. It is not accessible the rest of the year.

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