Bingling Temple Complex in Lanzhou Tour Guide:
The Bingling Temple Complex, located about 100 kilometres southeast of Lanzhou, is one of the more off-the-beaten-path attractions that you can enjoy without the crowds that throng most attractions in China, purely due to limited accessibility – only speedboats can take you here and that too only in summer and fall. However, in no case, must these grottoes be missed as they are truly spectacular and their location up the cliff faces in a canyon along the Yellow River enhances its mystic appeal.
A series of grottoes or caves filled with exquisite reliefs and statues related to Buddha and Buddhism, the Bingling Temple Complex is an extraordinary example of Buddhist artwork in China. Originally dating as far back as the 5th Century AD, the caves are stated to be a work in progress for millennia; many of them feature artwork with Indian influences, in Indian-style hand gestures and postures.
There are over 700 statues, 82 clay sculptures and 900 square metres of frescoes still preserved in their original form in 183 caves and you can see them all and explore all the caves through a series of winding pathways and alleys. A major highlight of your tour will be the recently restored about 100 feet tall statue of Giant Maitreya Buddha (seated) and a tour of Cave 169, which is on the lower level and is considered as one of the oldest grottoes of China with the earliest epigraph of any of China’s many Buddhist caves.