Tiantishan Mountain Grottoes
The Tiantishan Mountain Grottoes, also named Big Buddha Temple, is surrounded by successive mountains as if a suspending ladder, hence it got the name. The Peak of Tianti Mountain is pure white covered by thawless snow all year; the streams trickling in the mountains are gurgling and the green luxuriant forests are everywhere, which forms charming scenery.
The Snow-clad Peak of Tianti Mountain is one of the “Eight Scenic Wonders of Liangzhou Area.” According to A General History of China written by Fan Wenlan, Tiantishan Mountain Grottoes first erected under the reign of Mengxun, dating from over 1,500 years, earlier than Yungang Grottoes and Longmen Grottoes. Afterwards, it was renovated during Northern Wei Period, Sui Dynasty, Tang Dynasty and Western Xia Period and until Ming and Qing Dynasties it became a lamasery. Tiantishan Mountain Grottoes remains three stories with 17 different sizes of caves, of which the largest is 30-meter-high, 19-meter-wide and 6-meter-deep.
A 15-meter-high, 10-meter-wide sitting statue of Skamania is in the grotto. Among the people, there are some songs and beautiful legends about this. On the two sides of the Skamania there are six vivid and majestic sculptures of Bodhisattva Manjusri, Samantabhadra and so on. The southern and northern wall in the Grotto is decorated with fresco. The upper half of the southern wall is blue dragon; the middle part is a deer and an elephant carrying luminous Buddhist scriptures; the lower half is wild tigers and trees and flowers. The upper half of the northern wall is two blue tigers; the middle part is white horse carrying luminous scriptures, black tiger, tree of Buddha; the lower part is peony flowers. The entire fresco is clear, vivid and true to life. The Tiantishan Mountain Grottoes, taking an important position in Chinese Buddhist History, is a representative of early grottoes in China. It cultivated talented persons for Buddhism and provided technologies for grotto carving. Tiantishan Mountain Grottoes has been attracting experts, scholars and visitors home and abroad with her beautiful unique landscape and ancient Buddhist culture.