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Yungang Grottoes

 Datong Attractions

Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Introduction to Yungang Grottoes (云冈石窟)

The Yungang Grottoes, in Datong, Shanxi province, with their 252 caves and 51,000 statues, represent outstanding achievement of Buddhist cave art in China in the 5th and 6th century. The five caves, carried out by Tan Yao with a strict plan and design unit, are a classical masterpiece of the first peak of Buddhist cave art in China and one of the most popular Datong tourist attraction. 

The grottoes lie in the valley of the Shi Li river at the base of the Wuzhou Shan mountains, and contain stone carvings from the 5th and 6th centuries. In all there are 252 grottoes and 53 caves lining a distance of one kilometer, which have more than 51,000 Buddha statues and statuettes. The Datong grottoes are famous worldwide and are even recognised by UNESCO. 

The caves have been divided into three parts on the basis of their cultural and relic definitions. The eastern part of the caves are dominated by 'Pagodas' while the western caves are much smaller in size with score of niches. The caves that lie in the center of these two have front and back chambers separated by hundreds of Buddha statues. The walls of these caves have been embossed with ancient Chinese motifs.

The construction on the Yungang Grottoes was started in 450 AD and they are a relic of the Northern Wei Dynasty. Not only did the sculptures absorb the essence of Indian gandhara Buddhist art, it also drew inspiration from the social norms of the time and combined the two in perfect harmony.

It was during the reign of an emperor by the name of Xiao Wen that a monk named Tanyao took up the task of constructing the Yungang Grottoes. Cave number six is the largest one at the site with a height of 20 meters. It contains a 15 meter high column decorated with Buddha statues and carvings. Surrounding the pillar on all four sides are 33 panels depicting the life story of Sakyamuni.

   
Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Location

About 16 kilometers southwest of Datong city center (30 minutes' drive)

   
Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Main Sights

Dozens of caves with pagodas or rooms, magnificent and multi-colored sculptures with outstanding workmanship

   
Shanhaiguan Great Wall 

Travel Information

Opening Hours: 8:30AM - 5:00PM, (the exhibition hall: 9:30AM - 5:30PM)

Admission Fee: 150 yuan

Visiting Time: 2 hours

Best Time to Visit: May to October

   
Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Transportation 

1. Take bus 3-1, 3-2, 10 or 12 from Datong downtown to get there.

2. Taking a taxi from Datong city center to Yungang Grottoes costs about 40 yuan.

   
Shanhaiguan Great Wall

Travel Tips 

The opening hours would be extended relatively on holidays.

   


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