A trip to the Wild West: The Big Buddha Temple in Zhangye

Zhangye boasts its biggest sleeping Buddha in Aisa. The Big Buddha Temple, so called by the locals, is at a quiet willow-lined street near the city square. I was once a volunteer tour guide for the temple, but now I have forgotten almost all the description of the Buddha and the temple, and the only thing I can tell you is that it is about 34 meters long, and four people can sit on the ear of the statue to play cards. Anyway, it is just the biggest in-house nirvana statue of Buddha in Asia; maybe it is not the most artistically built among its kind, like the one I saw in Dunhuang, but it is definitely worth visiting, along with the exhibition of the Buddhist scriptures and relics. The ticket is 41 Chinese Yuan.

The Archway to the Main Building

No photos are allowed inside the main temple building, which was under renovation during my visit, but I managed to video-tape a little. Speaking of taking photos of the Big Buddha, there is actually an anecdote in my experience as a volunteer guide. I guided a team of French tourists to the temple, and one Frenchman held up his camera to take a photo of the statue, but I told him not to, even with no flash. Later, I learned that you can take photos of Mona Lisa at Louvre, and I started regretting for the Frenchman who didn’t have a photo of the giant Buddha statue. My reasoning is like this: if you can photograph Mona Lisa, you can definitely do the same thing to the statue, just turn off the flash.

In this reasoning, I filmed the statue without the notice of the janitor but unfortunately the video is too bulky to be shown in this blog. But if you make your way to Zhangye, this temple is definitely not something to be missed. To whet your appetite, here are a few photos of the Big Buddha Temple in Zhangye City, Gansu Province.

The Willow-lined Street to the Temple

The Temple Gate (the placard reads Big Buddha Temple)

The Main Building (incense furnace in front)

A Shabby Room at the Temple Corner

The Clay Pagoda

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