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Dazu Rock Carvings in Chongqing

Mia 2023-06-13

Name in Chinese: 大足石刻

Location: 167 kilometers from Chongqing, in Dazu County

Opening hours: 08:30 - 18:00

Duration of visit: one day


The Dazu Rock Carvings, also known as the Dazu Grottoes, are a remarkable collection of ancient Buddhist rock carvings located in Dazu County, Chongqing. With over 50,000 statues and 100,000 inscriptions, these carvings form a vast ensemble of stone cave statues that, alongside Dunhuang, Yungang, and Longmen Grottoes, compose a comprehensive history of Chinese cave art. Inscribed as a World Heritage Site on December 1, 1999, the Dazu Rock Carvings are considered one of the most extraordinary examples of rock art and religious sculpture in the world.


The creation of the Dazu Rock Carvings began in the 7th century during the Tang Dynasty and continued through the subsequent dynasties, including the Ming and Qing Dynasties. Over the centuries, numerous caves, niches, and cliffs were intricately carved with Buddhist, Taoist, and Confucian sculptures, along with inscriptions and epigraphs.


The carvings at Dazu are renowned for their exceptional artistic quality, intricate details, and harmonious integration with the surrounding natural environment. These rock carvings depict various scenes from Buddhist scriptures, mythical stories, historical events, and the daily lives of ancient Chinese people. The sculptures portray Buddha, bodhisattvas, deities, guardians, heavenly beings, as well as ordinary people engaged in religious practices and secular activities.


The Dazu Rock Carvings are divided into five major sites: Beishan (北山), Baodingshan (宝顶山), Nanshan (南山), Shimenshan (石门山), and Shizuishan (石篆山). Each site features a unique style and theme, offering visitors a diverse and awe-inspiring experience.



Main attractions of Dazu Rock Carvings

Baodingshan, 15km northeast of Longgang Street, Dazu District, features cliff carvings from the Southern Song Dynasty. Buddha statues adorn nearby rocky mountains within a 2.5km radius. Dafowan is the primary site, centered around Shengshou Temple, accompanied by Xiaofowan. Noteworthy sculptures depict the Six Realms of Reincarnation, grand pagodas, the Three Saints of Huayan, and Thousand-Armed Guanyin.


The Beishan cliff carvings, part of the Dazu Rock Carvings, date from the late Tang Dynasty to the Southern Song Dynasty. Located on Beishan, 2 kilometers north of Dazu District, they cover over 500 meters and feature intricate carvings reaching a height of approximately 7 meters. With over 5,000 statues, they exhibit exquisite craftsmanship. While some parts have suffered damage, most of the carvings are well-preserved. 


Transport from Chongqing to Dazu

Bus: Take a bus from Chongqing's Caiyuanba Bus Station to Dazu. The journey takes 2-3 hours. From Dazu County, use local buses or taxis to reach specific sites within the Dazu Rock Carvings area.
Check out: China Bus Tickets Booking from Chongqing to Dazu.


Train: There are several bullet trains travel between Chongqing North and Chengdu/Kunming, stop at Dazu South. Check train schedule from Chongqing North(重庆北) to Dazu South(大足南) China Train Tickets Booking–all routes covered.


Private Car: Hire a private car or taxi for a personalized and flexible transportation option. This allows you to explore the Dazu Rock Carvings at your own pace. Check out One Day Chongqing Car Rental to Dazu Grottoes.

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