Giant Buddha Temple, also being called Dafo Temple, located in the southwest corner of Zhangye, is the largest architectural relic in Gansu Province of the Western Xia (1038-1227) period. China's largest reclining Buddha is well preserved in this temple, where the Zhangye Museum is also located here.
Chinese Name: 大佛寺
Location: Dafosi Alley, Minzhu West Road, Ganzhou District, Zhangye
Tel: +86 936-8222048
Ticket: CNY 41/PP
Opening Time: 8:00-18:00 1st Apr. - 31st Oct.
8:30-17:30 11th Nov. - 31st Mar.
Best Time to Visit: All year round is available for visiting, while autumn is the best time around the year to take a trip there, that tourists can take a good picture of the crows at the white tower behind the Grand Buddha Temple, and winter is also a good choice to go there when it snows. However, it is least recommended to go there in the spring, since the sand dust is relatively frequent in that period and the weather is dry. Summer is the second least recommended time for travel, and it is necessary to take along a lot of water while traveling as it is very hot in summer there.
Transportation: You can take buses 1, 11, 13 in the city and get off at Giant Buddha Cultural Square. Giant Buddha Temple is located on the pedestrian street of Giant Buddha Lane in Ganzhou District, Zhangye City, within walking distance of the downtown area
History of the Giant Buddha Temple
Zhangye was called as "Ganzhou” in ancient times. It had been the capital of Hugu Regime since rebellion in the Tang Dynasty, knowing as Ganzhou. In1028, Dangxiang people who built Western Xia Regime around Yinchuan conquered Gangzhou. Eight years later, Western Xia occupied the whole Hexi Corridor. In order to strengthen the operation and management of Hexi corridor, the Western Xia Regime take active measures to promote series of localization policies, including the construction of temples and translation of buddhist scriptures. During the reign of Li Qiangshun, Western Xia was very prosperous, and the Dafo Temple during this period.
What to See
The Giant Buddha Temple is actually composed of several buildings including the Giant Buddha Hall, Sutras Exhibition Hall, Earthen Tower, Gold Tower Hall, Buddhist Art Exhibition Hall, Shanxi Provincial Guild Hall, etc. Among them the first three are most famous and representative, so they will be further introduced below.
Giant Buddha Hall
The Giant Buddha Hall is 48.5 m wide, 24.5 m long and 33 m high, with 2 stories. At the two sides of the gate of the hall, there are two 6 square meters’ brick carvings. There are 31 painted clays which are relics of Western Xia Regime. Among them, the reclining Buddha is the largest existing indoor reclining buddha in China. It sleeps on the butsudan in middle of the hall. The Buddha is 34.5 m long. The width between its two shoulder is 7.5 m. The ear of it is about 4 m long and the feet are 5.2 m long. One can lie on its middle finger, and its ear could hold 8 people siting side by side. There are 10 disciples behind the giant buddha. 18 arhats stands on bungalows at both sides of the gate. In the hall, there are the murals of Journey to the West and Mountain and Sea Classics.
Buddhist Classics Hall
The Buddhist Classics Hall is 21.3 m wide and 10.5 m long. There are more than six thousand volumes of Buddhist sutras given by Emperor Ying Zhong during Ming Dynasty. These Buddhist sutras are preserved well, especially those wrote by gold and silver powder.
Clay Pagoda was named Amitabha Thousand Buddhas Pagoda, with the height of 33.37m. It is one of the Five Element Pagodas in Zhangye. There is a small pagoda at each conner of the first and second stories. The architecture style is very unique in China.