Leshan (literally: "happy mountain"), formerly called Jiazhou, is located in the southwestern part of the Sichuan Basin – also called the Red Basin – in Sichuan Province. The basin lies at 500m above sea level – and as low as 200m in some places – while the mountain plateau (the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau) lies at roughly 5000m, with foothills beginning at 1000 meters' height. The basin's main river is the Yangtse, which originates, like the other rivers of the area, in the Qinghai-Tibet Plateau region (for a better historical and topological grasp of Sichuan Province itself – it is a fascinating area – check out "Sichuan Overview" and "Sichuan History" in the Site Search field).
Leshan City proper spans roughly 800sq km and has a population of roughly a half million. Thirty-three national minorities are represented in the region, the largest of them being the Li Nationality living principally in the Li Autonomous Counties of Mabian and E'bian, and in the Jinkouhe District of Leshan itself. But what puts Leshan on the map, as it were, is the mist-enshrouded Mt. Emei – one of Four Sacred Buddhist Mountains of China – and, of course, Dafo, or the Leshan Giant Buddha, carved into the cliff-side of Lingyun Mountain facing the waterway that represents the confluence of the Dadu, Ming and Qingyi Rivers. The Mt Emei-Leshan Giant Buddha area (also known as the Mount Emei Scenic Area) is now a World Cultural Heritage Site as well as a Chinese Natural Heritage Site.
Leshan Tourist Attractions
For centuries, Mt. Emei and the Leshan Giant Budda have been revered by visitors from near and far for their intrinsic value as Buddist heritage sites. Lesser frequented but decidedly tour-worthy sights, mostly within an hour's drive, include Wutong Bridge, the scenic resort town of Wutongqiao on the shores of a small lake nicknamed "Minor West Lake", in deference to the much larger – and world-renowned – West Lake near Hangzhou City in Zhejiang Province, but also sights such as Lingyun Temple Museum (above Dafo, on Lingyun Mountain), Wuyou Si (Wuyou Temple) atop nearby Wuyou Mountain, the peculiar boat-shaped ancient town of Luocheng southeast of Leshan, Thousand Buddhas in Jiajiang, Niuyan Temple in Qingshen and Three-Su Ancestral Temple in Meishan, all north of Leshan, and Black Dragon Beach in Renshou County, near Meishan.
Local Administrative Divisions
Districts: Shizhong, Wutong Bridge, Shawan and Jinkou River
Counties: Jianwei, Jinyan, Jiajiang and Muchuan
Autonomous Counties (Yi Nationality): E’bian and Mabian.
Emeishan City (shan means "mountain") exercises jurisdiction over the Mount Emei Scenic Area