The Largest Buddha Statue in the World Is a Towering 233-Foot Masterpiece

Written by Jennifer Geer
Published: June 14, 2023
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The Buddhist religion came to China from India, brought by monks during the Han dynasty. Over the centuries, many impressive Buddha statues were constructed throughout the country. It’s no surprise then, that the largest one in the world is found in China.

Where is the largest Buddha statue, who built it, and why? Read on to learn all about this awe-inspiring sculpture, and what wildlife lives nearby.

What is the Largest Buddha Statue in the World?

 Leshan Grand Buddha is a famous cultural and historical spot in Sichuan Leshan, China, which is the world's biggest stone sitting buddha statue

At 233 feet, the world’s largest Buddha statue is the Leshan Giant Buddha.


The world’s largest Buddha statue is the Leshan Giant Buddha, located in the Sichuan Province of China. At 233 feet, it towers over the area as it looks down over the confluence of three rivers.

Carved into a sandstone cliff in the 8th century, the statue has been listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 1996. It’s a popular draw for tourists to the area.

History of the Leshan Giant Buddha

The statue depicts Maitreya, a popular Buddha in the Tang Dynasty, seated with his hands resting on his knees. It is said that Maitreya will someday appear on Earth. When that day happens, people will learn to achieve complete enlightenment. 

The entire statue, except for the wooden ears, is carved from red sandstone on the side of the cliff. Construction of the statue took 90 years and was led by the Buddhist monk Hai Tong, who believed the sculpture would appease the gods and bring protection to the people living near the turbulent rivers. 

Hai Tong died before the sculpture was completed, but his disciples continued his work until it was finished in 803. Remarkably, it’s thought the great amount of stone removed from the cliffs and deposited into the water below during construction changed the currents of the three rivers, making the waters calmer and safer for ships.

What is the Size of the Leshan Buddha Statue?

Leshan Giant Buddha is the largest stone Buddha in the world, 71 metres (233 feet) tall; Unesko World Heritage Site. Canon 5D.

The Buddha’s fingers are the same size as the length of a London bus.


At 233 feet tall, it’s the largest Buddha statue in the world. Comparatively, the Buddha’s fingers are 27 feet long (the length of a London bus,) and the height of his head is just under 50 feet (the size of the Hollywood sign). Even his smallest toenail has enough room for a person to sit on.

Buddha’s Halo

In certain conditions and only from certain views, a halo may appear above the Buddha’s head. However, this is not supernatural, but a natural phenomenon that forms by diffraction and diffused sunlight. 

How Has the Buddha lasted centuries?

The Leshan Buddha statue has an efficient drainage system built behind the Buddha’s head. The sophisticated system moves water away from the statue to reduce weathering and erosion.

Location of the Leshan Giant Buddha Statue and How to Access It

The Leshan Giant Buddha

Tourists can get a great view of the Buddha by boat.

©Tracy ben/

The statue is located on Lingyun Mountain’s Qifeng Peak, east of Leshan City in the Sichuan Province. The sculpture faces Mount Emai and overlooks the junction of three rivers, the Minjiang, Dadu, and Qingyi Rivers. 

There are two ways to get close views of the Buddha. One is to walk from the top near the head down to its feet. However, this can mean waiting in long lines on busy days and involves traversing down narrow and steep stairs. The benefit is an up close and personal view of the enormous statue.

Another way to visit the statue is by boat. During the cruise, the boat will stop in front of the Buddha, and allow time for viewing and getting pictures. The boat view is at a far enough distance to allow the viewer sight of the entire statue at a front-facing angle but is less up close and intimate than the walking view.

Wildlife in the Area

The Leshan Giant Buddha scenic area is near the Mount Emei Scenic Area. These areas contain diverse vegetation, including subtropical to pine forests with trees older than 1,000 years old. These varying habitats allow for a diverse animal population, with around 2,300 different species recorded in the Mount Emei area.


Largest Monkeys - Tibetan Macaque

Tibetan Macaques, one of the

largest monkeys

living in Asia, roam the area in gangs.


The area is home to a diverse amount of mammal species, including some protected species like the red panda and Tragopan temminckii. There are also gangs of monkeys in the area (Tibetan macaques), which are not afraid of humans and will harass tourists for food.

Other mammals that live in the Sichuan Province include:


The area near the Leshan Buddha is prime viewing for bird-watching enthusiasts. Some of the bird species found in the area include the crimson-breasted woodpecker, ashy-throated parrotbill, brown-chested jungle flycatcher, and spotted bush warbler

However, some species, like the bar-winged wren babbler, can’t be seen by car and require hiking to reach the bird’s high-elevation habitat.

Giant Panda Base

Giant Panda Bear

The Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu is an important refuge for giant pandas.


Just a two-hour drive from the Leshan Giant Buddha will take you to the world-renowned Giant Panda Breeding Research Base in Chengdu. The refuge was created to imitate the natural habitat of giant pandas and provide them with ideal breeding conditions. 

Besides giant pandas, the base cares for other rare and endangered species, such as white storks, black-necked cranes, and red pandas. Many tour groups offer day trips to visit both the giant panda base and the Budha statue.

The photo featured at the top of this post is © contax66/

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About the Author

Jennifer Geer is a writer at A-Z Animals where her primary focus is on animals, news topics, travel, and weather. Jennifer holds a Master's Degree from the University of Tulsa, and she has been researching and writing about news topics and animals for over four years. A resident of Illinois, Jennifer enjoys hiking, gardening, and caring for her three pugs.

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