Friday, July 13, 2018

Travel Guide: Dazu Rock Carvings, Chongqing

I was in Chongqing again and looking for more things to do, as I was browsing, I found out about the ancient rock carvings in Dazu. After reading more about it I decided to include it in my itinerary.


The Ancient Rock Carvings

I met two French brothers who had the same plans as I did, so we decided to travel together for a day to get to Dazu. Instead of taking the bus, we took the bullet train early in the morning. The travel time to reach Dazu was less than an hour BUT, since we arrived early there were no buses yet. We waited for a while and boarded the first one that left. It didn't say online that the bus to the city center and station would take more than an hour (-_-). Our driver was nice enough to tell us that we should alight somewhere else instead of the station, so that we could catch the bus to Baodingshan Rock Carvings. It took another half hour driving through the countryside until we finally reached our destination.


The rock carvings are centuries old, some were made as early as the Tang Dynasty. The carvings are just as famous as the Mogao Caves (in Dunhuang). However, during our trip, there were mostly Chinese tourists. I get the feeling that this attraction is obscure to foreigners, unless they are really interested.



The carvings in Baodingshan were indeed impressive, especially knowing that some of them are centuries old. Some of them still have colors. I saw several epigraphs along with the statues and carvings.




Some of the cluster of carvings told a story with Buddhist themes or daily life; in my interpretation, I saw depictions of emerging from darkness into light, redemption and enlightenment. It was fascinating to see actually, this ancient way of storytelling.








Despite obvious signs of wear and age, I was amazed at how elaborate and detailed some of the carvings were. I saw the faces, teeth, head gear, clothes and other ornaments quite clearly.

The long trip to the rock carvings was definitely worth it. I like history and culture, which means I would go out of my way to see this place. If it's not exactly your thing, the hassle and time it takes to get to Dazu may not be worth it.

How to Get to Dazu

There is a bus that goes to Dazu County from Chongqing, Longtousi North and South Bus Stations. The trip takes around 2 hours (depending on the traffic. From the station, board bus 205 to Baodingshan.

Alternatively, take the bullet train from North Railway Station to Dazu, the fare is around CNY41.5 one way. Then board a bus to the station for around CNY6, then catch bus 205 to Baodingshan for around CNY3.

I only went to Baodingshan, the ticket for the rock carvings there is CNY135.

You can get to Chongqing from China's big cities such as Guangzhou, Shanghai or Beijing easily. There are regular flights and trains that travel to and from these. Visit Trip.com to buy tickets and check schedules.


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