Mogao Caves

Mogao Caves China | Thousand Caves Magao | Buddisht Caves Magao | UNESCO SITE Magao Caves | Magao Caves History | Magao Caves Timings | Magao Caves UPSC

Most of China’s UNESCO Sites that come under the cultural category are Buddhist religious sites like Caves or Temples. One of the Sites is Magao Caves. These Caves are also called Thousand Buddha Statues, Almost there are 500 Temples dedicated to Buddha in this Magao Caves. The Magao Caves are also called Dunhuang Caves.

The Term Dunhuang Caves constitute almost Five different Buddhist Caves in that area like Western Thousand Buddha Caves, Eastern Thousand Buddha Caves, Yulin Caves, and Five Temple Caves.

As legend has it, a Buddhist monk named Le Zun changed into making the lengthy adventure to the Western Paradise. Crossing the Gobi Desert, he stopped through Sanwei Mountain, close to Dunhuang. There he located a unique spring and, having quenched his thirst with its candy waters, sat right all the way down to rest.

It changed into nightfall and he changed into admiring the sundown while abruptly the mountains started out to glow. Raising his head, he noticed a picture of a wonderful golden Maitreya Buddha floating withinside the sky.

A thousand beaming Buddhas emerged, surrounded by flying fairies gambling heavenly music. Deeply moved through the radiant scene, Le Zun at once determined to live and rejoice in it. Le Zun had discovered portray and sculptures, and so he placed forth those competencies to recreate his vision.

Mogao Caves History

These Caves have a history of almost 1000 Years, The First Cave was dug around 366 AD as a part of Worship and Meditation for Buddhist Monks.

The records of Mogao start in 366 BC. A Buddhist monk through call Le-Tsung noticed a shine of Thousand Buddhas at the mountain pinnacle at some point of his adventure alongside the Great Silk Road.

Taking this imaginative and prescient as a sign, he went to the mountain and reduce thru a primary cave, wherein he spent a long term in meditation and prayer. This is a superb tale of Mogao grottoes, which had been constructed through the fans of Buddhism from the IV to XIV centuries. Over the length of hundreds of years, Buddhist pilgrims got here there to get enlightenment.

Some of them reduce down a small cave for themselves, whilst the others created the entire temples in miniature. Each of those caves turned into adorned with wall paintings, allowing us these days to hint at the records of Buddhism in China.

The entire complicated functions several statues of Buddha with the biggest one, a 30-m-excessive sitting Buddha, established in 695 through the order of a Chinese empress. By the XIV century, the Silk Road misplaced its significance as a connecting trunk street among the East and the West.

In addition, because of the VIII century, Xinjiang turned into the present process thru an energetic manner of Islamization, and Buddhism misplaced its dominant significance. The Mogao caves had been forgotten and buried through sand nearly for five centuries. And best a small institution of monks, from technology to technology, stored retaining this precise monument of Buddhist culture.

A new existence of the cave complicated started out on the junction of the XIX and XX centuries, while in 1900 a monk Wang Yuanlu determined a sealed cave with Buddhist texts. Since then, hundreds of researchers, archaeologists, and treasure hunters commenced a brand new pilgrimage to the Mogao caves.

Today the Mogao library is represented through hundreds of files withinside the Sanskrit, Sogdian, Chinese, Tibetan languages. The research found out now no longer best precise Buddhist scrolls, however additionally Manichean, Christian, or even Zoroastrian texts. So the Mogao library stored the maximum historic textual content with a Zoroastrian prayer and the world-famous “Jesus Sutras”, which many researchers bear in mind as proof of Jesus Christ’s adventure to the East.


Mogao Caves

The Architecture of Magao Caves resembles Longmen Grottoes and Yugang Grottoes, They are also Buddhist Caves carved on Mountains. These Magao Caves are also Rock Cut Architecture comprising of 500 Temples and 1000 Buddha statues.

Magao Caves shows the finest work of Craftsmanship, They are also painted with natural colors, There are almost 50,000 Manuscripts written about Magao Caves, Which are found later in the Discovery in 1908.

Paintings resemble the same as Ajantha and Ellora caves which are also dedicated to Buddism. The life cycle of Buddha and Magao caves history along with flowers are painted.

Art and Culture

Over a period of approximately seven hundred years, from the 4th to the eleventh century AD, Buddhist monks-regularly supported with the aid of using wealthy patrons-excavated and achieved magnificent works of artwork in Mogao caves.

The arrival of Islam and the Mongols withinside the twelfth century ended the cave creations and their digital abandonment. The closure of the Silk Road and abandonment of the groups and cities alongside its lengths, in reality, helped steady their upkeep till they were “discovered” in 1907.

Mogao Caves (28 kilometers south of Dunhuang) — additionally referred to as Thousand Buddha Caves — is a huge institution of caves full of Buddhist statues and imagery that have been first used withinside the A.D. 4th century.

Carved right into a cliff withinside the Japanese foothills of the Mingsha Mountains (Singing Sand Mountains) and stretching for greater than a mile, the grottoes are one in every of the most important treasure residence of grotto artwork in China and the world. All collectively there are 750 caves (492 with artwork work) on 5 levels, 45,000 rectangular meters of murals, greater than 2,000 painted clay figures, and 5 timber structures.

The grottoes include Buddha and Bodhisattva statues and adorable artwork of paradise, asparagus (angels), nonsecular scenes, and the consumers who commissioned the artwork. The oldest cave dates again to the 4th century. The biggest cave is a hundred thirty ft high. It homes a 100-foot-tall Buddha statue mounted throughout the Tang Dynasty (618-906) (A.D. 618-906). Many caves are so small they are able to best can accommodate some humans at a time. The smallest cave is best a foot high.


This Site has a cultural importance and was granted UNESCO World Heritage Site status in 1987.

According to UNESCO: “Carved into the cliffs above the Dachuan River, the Mogao Caves southeast of the Dunhuang oasis, Gansu Province, include the largest, maximum richly endowed, and longest used treasure residence of Buddhist artwork withinside the world.

It changed into the first building in 366AD and represents the remarkable fulfillment of Buddhist artwork from the 4th to the 14th century. 492 caves are currently preserved, housing approximately 45,000 rectangular meters of work of art and extra than 2,000 painted sculptures

Mogao Caves Travel Route

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