16.10.2012 - 16.10.2012
Today was our last day in the province of Hunan which we were told was the most densely populated of all with the population being 94 million people!
Before we left we were taken to a beautiful river called Yi River that had along its banks the longman grottos. These grottos were carved out of the rocks to house different budda's from many dynasties in China's history. Before the tour began the girls wanted to show off the Kung fu stance despite the aching legs!
As we walked along the riverbank we were blessed with sunshine and a cool breeze and the postcard pictures were easy to find.
The grottos were really fascinating and Shelley our guide told us that how to identify which dynasties each budda originated from as the grottos spread across many different eras. We were told that being fat was a sign of wealth and considered attractive which is represented by three chins on the budda. The sheer number of grottos was something to marvel and each one had varying sizes of budda's carved into the rock ranging from a few cm's in height to 6 to 7 metres high.
One of the grottos was famous because it contained 15,000 individual budda's
We passed a famous rock in which was called the lotus rock named after their national flower and it was a perfect opportunity for a group shot.
The best was saved to last as we climbed up the 40 or so steps to see the largest budda of them all standing 17 metres high. The Fengxiansi cave was cut by Li Zhi of the Tang Dynasty and was originally coloured when it was first made. Over time the colours had faded but every evening a light show would be projected onto the rocks to show the original design. Sadly the picture we got was not ours but a photo plaque, but you get the gist.
And to top it all off Jo got stung by a bee and we travelled on our first bullet train which were all glad to take as it cut our travel time down by 4 hours.
Next stop would be Xi'an and we still had terracotta warrior's to come!! It's been a whirlwind tour so far but we have had a great time and we as a group have been getting on really well, so no excuses of shyness for karaoke night!!