I can’t say I saw much of the city of Lesean, so we’ll stick to the main reason people come here. The Lesean Giant Buddha!
The Buddha is a 71-meter! tall stone statue, carved out of a cliff face. To put the size of this statue in perspective, you could actually sit comfortably on one of his toe nails…. that’s how gigantic this is!
The project was started in 713 by a Chinese monk named Haitong. He hoped that the creation of a giant Buddha could calm the turbulent river, as many shipping vessels were troubled by the unsafe waters. After Haitong’s death, the project was put on hold for a number of years, before finally being finished in 803.
Remarkably, the Buddha did calm the rivers currents. Due to the massive amount of stone being chipped away from the mountain and falling into the water, the river became a much safer place!
Impressively, a sophisticated drainage system was included into the Buddha. There are pipes carved into various places throughout the body to ensure that water doesn’t pool and cause additional weathering.
Furthermore, an enormous thirteen-story stone structure was initially built to cover the Buddha. However, the Mongols destroyed it in the 14th century and the statue has been exposed to the elements ever since!
*Above is the staircase visitors descend to get down to the Buddha’s feet. It’s pretty cool to see all of the intricate carvings along the side of the mountain.
Also, expect to wait about an hour and a half to get down to the bottom as the lineup is beyond absurd!
While extremely touristy, this is one of those sites that simply blows you away. I’ve seen plenty of pictures online, but to actually stand up close to the largest stone Buddha statue in the world is definitely a pretty cool thing!
If you’re close by, I think the Giant Buddha is a must visit… just try to ignore the crowds of shouting, coughing and touching tourists ; )