The Longmen Grottoes

Extraordinary, that’s the word to describe the Longmen Grottoes. They overlook the Yi River amidst a magnificent panorama. Stretching over a kilometer, more than 100,000 Buddhas and their disciples are carved into the rock. It’s incredibly impressive; there are statues of all sizes, from the largest and gigantic to the smallest and microscopic! You need a keen eye to spot them all. Every inch of the rock is adorned; no space is left untouched.

Unfortunately, some sculptures were damaged by looters in the early 20th century. Some of these statues can now be found in museums, such as the Museum of Art in New York.

The largest cave is that of the Buddha Vairocana, featuring a 17-meter tall Buddha! Not to mention the immense guardians with their fierce expressions.

Shaolin Monastery

The Shaolin Temple, located on Song Shan, is a visit filled with surprises! We expected an authentic, untouched temple experience, but unfortunately, it’s quite touristy! The temple grounds are scattered with souvenir shops, easily accessible between walks and performances. Everything seems geared towards encouraging consumption.

The Kung Fu demonstrations are undeniably impressive; whether touristy or not, one can’t help but be amazed by the monks’ skill. Kung Fu movements are inspired by various animals and insects. After the demonstrations, take a stroll among the different temples. Don’t miss the Forest of Pagodas, a cemetery with 248 pagodas containing the ashes of monks. You can also explore the surrounding hiking trails.

Unfortunately, it was raining that day and the fog had set in, so we couldn’t enjoy the beautiful panorama that would have been visible on a clear day.

About Author

We are Sophie, Adrien, and our two adorable little ones. Passionate about travel, discovery, and gastronomy, we bought a 2007 Rapido camper van to travel differently, travel more, and introduce our children to the world. Here, we share our wonderful discoveries and tips for activities to do with children in France and beyond ! Welcome !

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