The Giant Buddha in Leshan, China. Picture: Paradise/Instagram

Leshan is well-known for its beautiful natural landscape and historic relic of Emei Mountain and Leshan Giant Buddha, a figure of Maitreya Buddha in sitting posture.

The giant Buddha is located to the east of Leshan City, Sichuan Province, at the confluence of three rivers, namely, Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. 

The status was originally carved in Kaiyuan period of Tang Dynasty (in 713 A.D.). Having been worked on for 90 years, the Leshan Giant Buddha was finally finished in Zhenguan period in 803 A.D. 

Since 1962, the statue has been maintained by the Chinese government to avoid erosion from wind and rain.

The statue is the most renowned scenic spot in that city. In December 1996, the location of the Buddha was included by UNESCO on the list of the World Heritage sites.

The giant Buddha is 71 meters high and has 8.3-meter-long fingers. The 9-meter-wide instep is big enough for one hundred people to sit on. 

It was a monk called Hai Tong who initiated the project. His major concern was for the safety of the long-suffering people who earned their living around the confluence of the three rivers - the Min River, Qingyi River, and Dadu River. 

Tempestuous waters ensured that boat accidents were numerous and people of Leshan put that disaster down to the presence of a water spirit. 

So Hai Tong decided to carve a statue beside the river believing that the Buddha would bring the water spirit under control.

The city of Leshan has a population of 7000 and is a popular tourist destination thanks to its main claim to fame - the towering Giant Buddha.