Dunhuang Mogao Grottoes is a shrine of Buddhist art treasures. Dunhuang culture is also known as Mogao Grottoes culture. Located at a strategic point along the ancient Silk Road, the Mogao Grottoes, also known as the Thousand-Buddha Grottoes, are noted for its rich collection of over 1,000-year-old Buddhist statues and murals.
According to the Tang Dynasty (618-907) records, a monk named Lezun had a vision of a thousand Buddhas under showers of golden rays. Thus inspired, he started construction on the caves, which span 10 dynasties. The Mogao Grottoes are commonly known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. With a large number of murals, grottoes, cultural relics to name just a few, it is a world-famous Buddhist art resort. Here you can enjoy the magnificent grottoes and mural art, and learn the history of Buddhism in Dunhuang through explanation and film display, which is the best option for tourists to visit Dunhuang.
Continue to visit you will find that the caves are filled with Buddha statues, flying Apsaras, Kabuki music, fairies, and so on. There are not only sitting statues up to nine stories but also small Bodhisattvas of more than ten centimeters, it is quite numerous and in different shapes, which is worth to visit.
In many Mogao Grottoes, there are images of Apsaras who believed to be incarnations of heavenly gods Gandharva and Kinnara. The Flying Apsaras, or "Fei Tian" in Mandarin, are often considered a symbol of the Mogao Grottoes. They refer to a spiritual being in Hindu and Buddhist culture with an image of a beautiful female. It is said that Chinese craftsmen first painted the apsaras in murals in the Mogao Grottoes during the Sixteen Kingdoms period (304-439).
When it came to the Tang Dynasty (618-907), the painted apsaras were characterized by traditional Chinese artistic features, marking the peak of China's Flying Apsaras art. The murals carry information about their attire, musical instruments and other social artifacts of their times.
Having witnessed the spread of Buddhism along the Silk Road into China, they have left a touchstone of the diverse cultural exchanges in world history. Nowadays we can see the lively images of Flying Apsaras in various forms, such as dances, trademarks, and advertisements.
The digital display centre:
The Mogao Grottoes Scenic Spot is consists of two parts: the Mogao Grottoes Digital Display Centre and the Mogao Grottoes. The two parts adopt a joint ticket system and are not sold separately. Since 11th September 2014, the system of booking visits has been implemented in scenic spots. Tourists have to book tickets by telephone or online. According to the booking period, they can visit the scenic spots with a limit of 6,000 people per day.
After booking and collecting the tickets, visitors have to go to the digital exhibition center of Mogao Grottoes and watch two films about Mogao Grottoes for 20 minutes each. A "Millennium Mogao" is an introduction to the history and culture of Mogao Grottoes, it will help the tourists to have a better understanding of Mogao Grottoes. Another "Dream Buddha Palace" is a ball screen film that shows a lot of caves that are not open now.
1. In Mogao Grottoes, you are not allowed to use the torch and the mobile phones, The torch used by the commentator is a special cold light lamp, otherwise, it will have an impact on the murals. To protect cultural relics, please do not take pictures secretly! Camera flash can cause great damage to murals.
2. Caves are closed in severe weather, such as cloudy and rainy days or sandstorms.
3. Shuttle bus service is available between the caves and the Digital Exhibition Center.
Address: 15.5 miles (25 km) southeast of Dunhaung
Tel: +86 886 9060
Peak season: 1st May - 31st October (Monday-Sunday, 8.00 AM - 8.00 PM )
Off-season: 1st November - 30th April (Monday-Sunday, 9.00 AM - 5.30 PM )