On the banks of the Yi River just south of Luoyang in Henan Province, the Longmen Cave complex was begun by the Northern Wei dynasty in 439AD and completed by the Tang emperors. In all, some 10,000 figures were carved out of the limestone cliffs looming above the water here, the largest of them 17 meters tall. Seeing the giant Buddhas for the first time after climbing the flight of steps leading from the river is a goose-bump-inducing experience. Although reachable via superfast train from Xi'an, the site has not been over-developed like many in China and retains a serene atmosphere, particularly in the morning.

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