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The Yugang Grottoes are located in Datong City, Shanxi Province of China and consists of 252 caves and 51,000 statues. They form the pinnacle of Buddhism art in China in the 5th and 6th century.

Yungang Grottoes you gotta go here

The Yugang Grottoes are located in Datong City, Shanxi Province of China and consists of 252 caves and 51,000 statues. They form the pinnacle of Buddhism art in China in the 5th and 6th century.

Datong City was known as Pingcheng in the ancient times. It was the capital of the Northern Wei Dynasty from 389 to 494 and hence, it was the political, cultural and economic center of the Kingdom. The city would keep its importance up to 523, after it was deserted during a revolt. Amazingly, the Yungang Grottoes were completed in 60 short years (460 to 525) at the peak of the Buddhism cave art in northern Wei Dynasty.

By the year 525, all the grottoes that had been commissioned by the king’s court had been completed but low ranking officials and monks would continue carving more grottoes. When the Liao Dynasty took over, a lot of wooden structures were built in front of the grottoes turning them into temples. A good example such temples is the Ten Famous Temples. Unfortunately, a whopping 1122 of these temples were destroyed during the war.

The grottoes layout consisted of large caves, giant statues of 13-15 meters tall, U-shaped plan and arched roofs. About 1,000 Buddhist temples have been carved inside the grottos – something you rarely see in the ancient Chinese grotto carving.

The best way to see the Yungang grottoes is on foot. Pack your camera, your hiking boots and then engage the services of a local who knows the Grottoes well. Forget the tour guides…they will just charge you a lot for nothing. As you click away at the amazing sights, you will come to the same conclusion many a traveller to Yungang Grottoes have come to – the ancient Chinese were a talented lot.

For all the sights you will catch here, you will hardly spend more than US$200. Yeah, it is only in China that such rates still exist for such a vast field of exploration. While at it, why not make a documentary of the Grottoes? It will remind you of your trip to one of the best preserved grottoes in the world.

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