With 11 foot-long fingers and standing at 232 feet (71 metres) high, the Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest carved stone Buddha in the world. The Buddha overlooks the meeting of the Minjiang, Dadu and Qingyi rivers in the Sichuan Province of China near the city of Leshan. It was created in the year 713 at the request of monk Hai Tong who hoped it would calm the water spirits that he believed were responsible for shipping accidents. It took thousands of workers until 803 to finally complete the statue.
The carving of the statue caused so much stone to be cast into the river that the currents were altered, and the waters calmed as Hai Tong had wished. The detail on the statue is far from being purely cosmetic. The 1,021 buns in the Buddha’s hair form part of a drainage system that leads water behind the ears and along the limbs to protect the core of the statue from water damage. Tourists, weathering and air pollution have left the statue in need of some restoration, but for his age, the Buddha is looking in great shape.