Dazu county is located about 160km (99 miles) northwest
of Chongqing and is famous for its spectacular Buddhist cave sculptures
(dazhu shike). There are thousands of cave sculptures and
carvings scattered around this area with two main groups at Beishan
Beishan is 2km (1 mile) from the town of Dazu and has over 290 caves featuring approximately 10,000 statues. Most of the carvings were done between the 9th and 11th centuries.
Baoding is 15km (9 miles) from Dazu and also has
some 10,000 carvings but they are considered to be more interesting.
One of the most impressive carvings is the complex ‘Wheel of Life’
which features a self portrait of the founder - a monk named Zhao
Zhifeng who belonged to an obscure Tantric Buddhist sect. Other
carvings to view include ‘18 layers of hell’ and ‘requital of parental
kindness’. The carvings are thought to have been created over a
period of 70 years starting in 1179.