We were meant to be checking out of our hostel this morning but decided on a day trip to Dazu instead.
After failing to locate the hostel owner last night or this morning we had to wake up our new room mate (a girl who we think is his girlfriend) and ask her to tell him that we wanted to stay another night. We left the hostel with just our bum bags; leaving our rucksacks and extra bits on our beds and our valuables in the lockers.
Dazu Buddhist rock carvings
After leaving our hostel four hours ago and two buses later we finally arrived at the Dazu Buddhist Rock carvings.
Unfortunately it was raining by the time we got to the Treasure Summit Hill but what we saw was worth walking around in the rain for!
We rang the bells at the entrance and walked to the rock carvings via a huge garden. There was the option of taking a golf buggy to the site but the weather wasn’t bad enough that we would have wanted to miss out on exploring the park on the way.
When we made it to the rock carvings the weather started to get a bit nicer and we were able to fully appreciate what we were seeing.
It’s little wonder why it is a Unesco World heritage site!
The rock carvings and statues depicted various scenes of the history of Buddhism and stem from the Tang Dynasty (9th century). The scale of the carvings were huge as it covered four large walls encasing the giant golden Avalokiteshvara (goddess of mercy) with 1007 individual arms fanning around her, each hand housed an individual eye in its Palm- it looked like a giant peacock from afar!
The rock carvings stretched on for hundreds of metres at a time! It was really interesting to see how time has effected them as the golden goddess of mercy statue had been refurbished recently. In comparison, the rest of the statues were very weathered.
The top of the carvings were protected by an over hang so maintained the original paint work however the bottom of the carvings had either completely lost their colour or had been disfigured by the weather and general wear-and-tear. Even though these didn’t look as pristine as the goddess of mercy statue,I preferred their ruggedness.
After walking around the rest of the grounds a little more (there’s a museum, a temple,a pond and a little model street which has been designed to look authentic) we headed back to the main town of Dazu to look for somewhere to eat for lunch. We originally tried to get the bus back but ended up in a taxi (also cutting short a one hour bus journey to a 30minute taxi ride).
Lunch was a bit disappointing. We’d missed lunch time so everywhere was pretty empty and we ended up walking a while before we saw anywhere that didn’t just serve hot pot. We tried to order some vegetables off of the Chinese menu but everything turned up covered in meat so I ended up eating a few bowls of rice.
It was only 3 o’clock by the time we’d finished lunch but we had to wait around until 5pm to catch our bus back to Chongqing so went on a little walk around the area. We were back at the bus station within half an hour. Dazu town isn’t exactly the nicest area to walk around and there’s lots of construction work ongoing so most pavements are disrupted.
The bus back to Chongqing must’ve taken a lot shorter route because we were back in the same time it took going,whilst also sitting in lots of traffic and being diverted.
We got back to our hostel just after 8pm, drenched (it was really raining by the time we got off the bus and the taxi queue was huge so we had to walk for 10 minutes to get to the metro station – back up the ¥2 escalator!), hungry (from my bowls of rice lunch) and dreading being told that their would be no room for us to sleep. Luckily the hostel owner is adorable and said it was fine. He made a joke about us asking the ‘boss’ this morning – his girlfriend- and said that we might have a few more people in our dorm tonight.
We headed back out in the rain to get dinner – times like this it would’ve been ideal to order a takeaway- and ended up in a really cool restaurant!
Every table had its own private chef, the food was really tasty and pretty cheap! A waiter takes your order and brings the chef out the ingredient to cook it right in front of you – which meant that I didn’t get any meaty surprises for once!
When we got back to the hostel there was a group of boys with their bags in the living room and the hostel owner actually asked us if it was ok that they share our dorm (which currently still only had Leah and I in). He’d made them wait until we got back from dinner encase we had a problem with it! Of course we said it was fine!
By midnight our new dorm mates (6 boys from Yorkshire) were just heading out as we were ready for bed. We’d turned down a invitation to join them and their hunt for the Chongqing night life in favour for a good sleep before we headed to Chengdu in the morning.