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Join us on this amazing adventure...
Join us on this amazing adventure...
This was our main scheduled stop in Henan province… Longmen Grottoes were waiting us 🙂
The day before we had arrived in Luoyang very early in the morning (as it was usual in this trip…), and so for that reason (and because we knew the city was pretty big) we decided to stay in a hotel that was as close as possible to the train station. We arrived at the hotel with Noah in our arms still asleep and after check-in they gave us a room with a horrible smell of cigars (and that was even with the window open, obviously to air the room). We asked to be moved, which they did straightaway, and we were finally able to rest for a few hours.
When we woke up we decided to go to visit the Longmen caves, but when we realized it was a bit late, we just wandered around a shopping area in the city center for a while. Noah was playing with some girls and he gave them a little Hello Kitty dolly that he had been given by someone just minutes before 🙂
The next day we finally headed to the Longmen Grottoes. Note that there are more than 2300 caves, many of them very small, but some are medium-sized or even large. You can access almost all of them via endless twists and turns of stairs the length and breadth of the mountain where they are located.
We arrived at around 2pm (after having had to return to the hotel because of a little toilet emergency with Noah 🙂 ) and we started our visit under the blazing sun and in constant humidity. We walked down a long alleyway by the River Yi and climbed the first of many stairs. We decided to go at a calm pace, mainly to avoid the rush of the tours and organized visits.
The main caves we visited were:
The Three Sinyang Cave
Wanfo Cave (ten-thousand-Buddha Cave)
Welzi Cave and Tangzi Cave
Finally we arrived at the grand staircase which gave us access to the Fengxiansi Cave (the largest of the caves) and its impressive figures of Buddha and surrounded on either side by a monk, bodhisattva, heavenly king and a Vajrapani. It is simply spectacular to see such a marvel of human perseverance.
From the highest point on Longmen Hill where there is nothing much to see, you can admire the area of Longmen National Wetland Park.
We crossed the river by the Manshui Bridge and we got to the caves on the East Hill… This meant more stairs, but this time through a forest which eventually gave us some shade where we could take shelter.
Walking towards the exit we were able to see the number of holes (like a hive) which have been made in the wall of the mountain to create this place, which has been declared a World Heritage Site. The problem was that, being the afternoon, the backlighting didn’t allow us to take the best photos or get great views … Maybe next time 🙂
The last place we visited (before they closed at 6:30pm) was Xiangshan Temple and the residence of Jiang and Song. Obviously to reach them it was necessary to climb a large number of steps … But we are in good shape so it wasn’t a problem, although we did need a little break 🙂
The Xiangshan Temple is a place with a quiet (we believe that was thanks to the time when we visited) and relaxed atmosphere which gave us some leisure at that moment which we hadn’t had during the rest of the visit … The views from the top of this section of the mountain are really beautiful.
We returned to our hotel at night, thanks to directions from a friendly family in a motorbike 🙂
It is a real luxury to be able to visit places as beautiful as this great spot in Luoyang.
Next stop: Shaolin Temple, Pagoda Forest and Songshan Mountain!