This is one of the highlights of our trip to Shanxi. The area has been redeveloped with modern buildings at the entrance providing clean toilets, an important facility.
Entrance is free for Senior citizens over 60yrs. From the entrance, we took a short ride in a motorised cart to the grottos.
Only 3 caves were opened for viewing, but the statutes and carvings were intricate and well worth the visit. The disappointment was that we were not allowed to take photographs, even without flash.
Some of the carvings were extensively eroded and just left with an outline with several 1 plus in sized holes. We were informed by the guide that these holes originally held plugs that kept the surface mortar in place as the sandstone was very soft and often fell apart. With time, the surface mortar eroded away leaving the base featureless sandstone.
Further along, caves 16-20 were closed for renovations and screened from view.
The large standing sandstone Buddha is very impressive. There are other statues with varying degrees of erosion.
There are several "photographers" around who will take your picture and then pester you to buy them for ¥10/- each. I must admit, they took better pictures of us than we could capture and I guess at less than 2 bucks it's ok. I am not for this kind of hankering but, he is working very hard earning a living legitimately, more than a lot of people,
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