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Henan’s long history and splendid culture draw the crowds

Henan China: Historic scenic areas like the Longmen (Dragon Gate) Grottoes in Luoyang city and Shaolin Temple in Dengfeng city, both in Henan province, China, are attracting scholars and visitors from both home and abroad.

Sculpted Buddha statues at the Longmen Grottoes in Luoyang city, Henan province, China.

Longmen Grottoes is located at the foot of Yique Mountain, about 12 kilometres to the south of Luoyang city where the Yi River traverses between two mountain peaks which are just like a pair of Chinese gate towers.
Yique actually means the gate of the Yi River in Chinese, and when enjoying the beauty here many visitors exclaim with wonder, “Isn’t this the dragon gate?”, which is the origin of the name Longmen.
Preserved in the grottoes are over 2,100 cave shrines sheltering 97,300 statues of Buddha, some of which were built 1,300 years ago.
A tour guide at Longmen Grottoes told visiting journalists from the China, South Asia and Southeast Asia Press Centre programme that the tallest statue in the mountain rock is the Losana Buddha, which stands 17.14 metres high.
Longmen Grottoes is one of China’s three treasures of stone carving and World Cultural Heritage. It is the third cluster of cave temples commissioned by the imperial court, after Dunhuang Grottoes in Gansu and Yungang Grottoes in Datong, Shanxi province.
It is truly a large museum of stone sculpture that is a reflection of the politics, economy, and social culture of the time. The caves have preserved for the present a huge wealth of religion, fine art, architecture, calligraphy, music and costume.
The landscape, mountains, and rivers of Longmen are grandiose and delightfully scenic as the first of the eight beauties of Luoyang. The landscape around Luoyang is wonderful and Longmen is the best, which is true for the present.
Its ancient art, its splendid environment and its convenient transportation all attract groups of scholars and visitors from around China and further afield.
Shaolin Temple is situated at Songshanmountain in Dengfeng city, Henan province, and is surrounded by forests and hills as a natural defence.
A Chinese tour guide, Mr Winston, said the temple was established in 495 A.D. at the western foot of Songshan Mountain, 13 km northwest of Denfeng city. A tree that is 1,500 years old still stands inside the temple.
Emperor Xiaowen of the northern Wei dynasty from 386 to 557 A.D. had the temple built to accommodate the Indian master Batuo (Buddhabhadra).
As the first Shaolin abbot, Batuo devoted himself to translating Buddhist scriptures and preaching doctrines to hundreds of his followers. Later, another Indian monk Bodhidharma arrived at the temple, who was said to have crossed the Yangtze River.
He spent nine years meditating in a cave at the Wuru peak and initiated the Chinese Chan tradition at Shaolin Temple. Thereafter, Bodhidharma was honoured as the first patriarch of Chan Buddhism.
Chinese Kungfu also originated at Shaolin Temple and is recognised as the origin of Chan Buddhism and the cradle of Kungfu.
Henan is historically named the Yellow River Plain, also called Yu for short, with its capital being Zhengzhou. It called Henan because most of the province lies to the south of the Yellow River.
It borders on the provinces of Anhui, Shandong, Hebei and Shanxi.
Henan is a province with rich cultural resources and Henan’s Yu opera, dance drama, folk art and acrobatics hold an important position in China.


By KhonesavanhLathsaphao
(Latest Update May 12, 2017)

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