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Bingling Temple Grotto
2011-03-17 ArticleSource:
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Located in the Greater and Minor Jishi (Piled Stone) Hills some 35 kilometers to the southwest of Yongjing County, the Bingling Grotto Temple was chiseled out on the western cliff of the Dasi (Great Temple) Valley on the right of the Yellow River. The Jishi Hills, though dotting on the Northwest Plateau, enjoys yet an exclusively charming and elegant landscape.
The geological formation of the Ijishi Hills where lies the Bingling Grotto Temple is of fine sandstone structure which is easier to be caved and engraved. However, it does not resist weathering and water erosion. As the air is dry here and moreover the higher part of the cliff is normally jutting out to form an eave-like shade, which has helped shelter away strong sunshine and the wash of rainwater. Therefore, the grottos and figures remain still intact and well preserved though quite a long time has already gone by.
The Bingling Grotto Temple is located at a transportation hub on e feeder line of the ancient Silk Road leading from China to the western countries. Buddhists started to cave grottos and sculptures as early as the Western Jin Dynasty. During the period of the Sixteen states, the nobles of he Xianbei ethnic tribe established the Western Qin Regime here. They were for the Buddhism cult and so many eminent monks from inland and western regions swarmed to the place, preaching and sermonizing. The Dasi Valley in the Minor Jishi Hills within the territory of the Western Qin, namely the area where Bingling Temple was located come to be the Buddhist venue of the time.

Cited from:(Han Rongliang & Han Zhiyu (2006). Guide to Gansu [M].Beijing: China Travel and Tourism Press)

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