Bingling Temple is situated in the upper stream of Liujiaxia Reservoir of the Yellow River, 35 kilometres southwest of Yongjing County, Gansu. Along the steep red sandstone cliff, in the scenic area, you will see the air trestle road and various grottoes, which is quite worth to visit.
Introduction of Bingling Temple:
Bingling Temple was called Tangshu Grottoes in Wei and Jin Dynasties, Lingyan Temple in Tang Dynasty and Bingling Temple from the Song Dynasty. In the temple there exist 196 grotto niches, distributed at the Upper Branch, Lower Branch, Donggou, Foyetai and other places.
What to visit in Bingling Temple:
When you visit the Binglin Temple, you will see the 2 caves and 1 niche excavated in the Western Qin Dynasty, 8 caves and 25 niches excavated in the Northern Wei Dynasty, 2 caves in the Northern Zhou Dynasty, 2 caves in the Sui Dynasty and 20 caves and 113 niches in the Tang Dynasty.
Grotto niches statues and murals of Bingling Temple are mainly composed of 169 natural Grottoes sitting on Buddha and all the small and medium-sized Grottoes on the cliff surface. Cave 169, formerly known as Tangshu Cave, it is 15 metres high, 8 metres deep and 20 metres wide and it is also the earliest and well-preserved caves in China.
In addition, there are three types of sculptures in the grottoes, namely, Buddhist niches, stone carvings and clay sculptures of stone fetuses. the 171 niches are situated on the cliff of the grottoes, and it has a statue of the Maitreya Buddha of the Tang Dynasty, which carved in accordance with the mountains, which is quite magnificent.
The map of Wenshu Bodhisattva's enquiry about illness in the Western and Eastern Qin Dynasties in the Grottoes is the earliest alteration of the Uighur heuristic Sutra seen in our country at present.
The clay sculpture Bingling Temple reclining Buddha is the only reclining Buddha in the Northern Wei Dynasty, which has very important research value.
The statue of a maid in the Tang Dynasty is the most precious one among the existing grotto statues in China, which fully reflects the style and features of the prosperous Tang Dynasty.
Yellow River Stone Forest (Huanghe Stone Forest):
Huanghe Stone Forest has developed in the early Pleistocene, quaternary, Cainozoic era, about 2.1 million years ago. Due to the geological effect of earth crust movement, weathering, rain erosion and other geological effects, store forest landform was formed with yellow glutenite as the key element and colourful shapes.
Other scenery of Bingling Temple:
Furthermore, at the entrance of Bingling Temple, tourist can also visit the Sister Peak, Yuanyang Cave, Yaoshui Spring and other scenic spots, with the gorgeous landscape and dangerous peaks, which will definitely feast your eyes.
The structure of Bingling Temple:
The grottoes are divided into three parts: the upper temple, the cave grottoes and the lower temple, of which the lower temple is the most spectacular temples in the grottoes, and they are distributed on cliffs. There are 196 caves, 694 stone statues, 82 clay statues and more than 900 square metres of murals in Bingling Temple Grottoes.
The historical value of Bingling Temple:
The works of the Tang Dynasty had the highest artistic achievements, with more than 3000 monks at that time. The inscriptions on ink books of Faxian, a famous monk in the first year of Jianhong in the Western Qin Dynasty (420 A.D.), are the earliest chronology preserved in the Grottoes in China. They have made a great contribution to the chronology of other ancient Grottoes in China.
From Lanzhou to Liujiaxia Reservoir by bus (80 km, about 1 hour, 20 RMB ) and then by speedboat to Binglin Temple (about 2 hours, 130 RMB per person). It takes about 8 hours to stay and return.
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