Treasured Summit Hill

Archaeological Site in Dàzú Buddhist Caves

If you only have time for one Dàzú stop, make it this, the largest and most impressive of the sites. Of all the stunning sculptures here, which are believed to have been carved between 1174 and 1252, the centrepiece is a 31m-long, 5m-high reclining Buddha depicted entering nirvana, with the torso sunk into the cliff face. Next to the Buddha, protected by a temple, is a mesmerising gold Avalokiteshvara (or Guanyin, the Goddess of Mercy).

Treasured Summit Hill differs from other cave sites in that it incorporates some of the area’s natural features – a sculpture next to the reclining Buddha, for example, makes use of an underground spring. At the time of writing, some of the sculptures were undergoing renovation.

The site is about 15km northeast of Dàzú town and is accessed by buses (¥3, 20 minutes, every 30 minutes, until 7pm) that leave from Dōngguānzhàn bus stop. Dàzú has two bus stations; old and new. Buses from Chóngqìng drop you at Dàzú’s old bus station (老站; lǎozhàn). Buses from Chéngdū drop you at Dàzú’s new bus station (新站; xīnzhàn). From either, take bus 101 (¥1) or a taxi (¥7) to get to Dōngguānzhàn bus stop.

Once at the site, it’s a shadeless 25-minute walk from where the bus drops you off to the entrance to the sculptures. Buses returning from Treasured Summit Hill run until 6pm.