Thousands of caves at the Longmen Grottoes

If you like caves, and especially cave art or Buddhist art, the Longmen Grottoes are not to be missed. The Grottoes were designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 and, along with the Mugao Caves and Yungang Grottoes, are one of the most famous cave sculpture sites in China.

The Longmen Grottoes comprise more than 2,000 caves and niches. Inside the caves and niches are carved more than 100,000 Buddhist images and sculptures. Construction of the Grottoes began at the end of the 5th century and continued for hundreds of years afterwards. The artwork is a testament to the absorption of Buddhist culture from India and the indigenous development of Buddhism in China over that time period. A few of the sculptures are massive in size and would impress even the jaded traveler.

The Grottoes are near to Luoyang city in Henan province. Nearby Zhengzhou city is a very large city and, if you are traveling by plane or train, you may find it easier to arrive in Zhengzhou first. One side benefit of visiting the Longmen Grottoes is that the famous Shaolin Temple is only a couple of hours away. If you are interested in martial arts or martial arts movies, then you can easily combine a trip to the Shaolin Temple area with a visit to the Longmen Grottoes.