Emei Mountain lies seven kilometers southwest of Emeishan City and is one of the four mountain ranges in China that Buddhists consider sacred. It was included in the UNESCO world heritage list in 1996. The mountain stretches more than 200 kilometers from south to north. Its main peak, Wanfo Top, is 3,099 meters above sea level. Since ancient times Emei Mountain has been described as Beauty Under Heaven. Temples were built as early as the Eastern Han Dynasty (25--220) and Buddhism was introduced to the mountain during the Jin Dynasty. In the Ming and Qing dynasties there were more than 150 temples.
A legend claims that the mountain was where Samantabhadra gave lectures on Buddhism and most temples house a statue of Samantabhadra. The main scenic spots on the mountain include the Baoguo Temple, Wannian Temple, Fohu temple, Qingyin Pavilion, Heilongjiang Tunnel, Hongchun Platform, Xianfeng Temple (Jiulao Cave), Xixiang Pond and Golden Summit. These places are at different altitudes and have different climates. Temperatures at the top of mountain are 15 degrees lower than at the foot. Emei Mountain is a well-known natural museum with more than 3,000 specimens of plants and 2,000 types of animals including groups of monkeys that appear on the mountain roads and fascinate the tourists.
The Giant Buddha on the east bank of Mingjiang River in Leshan City, Sichuan Province, rests his feet where three rivers--the Minjiang, Qingyi and Dadu--join. The Buddha faces Emei Mountain across the river and at its back is the western slope of Lingyun Mountain. Standing at 70.7 meters with shoulders 24 meters wide it is an impressive sight. A water drainage system reduces erosion by rain and slows weathering.
The statue was begun in 713 and completed in 803. To the right of the statue a plank road with nine turns was built and it is now famous as the nine-turn plank road; it goes from the bottom to the top.