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Grottoes in Bingling Temple

Grottoes in Bingling Temple is situated on the rock of west cliff in Dasi Gully on Xiaojishi Mountain on the north bank of the Yellow River, a place about 40 kilometers southwest of Yongjing County of Linxia Hui Autonomous Prefecture in Northwest China's Gansu Province. Seen from the opposite bank, Dasi Gully, like a natural art hall made by the God with magic, gives people an impression of profound mystery and glory.

The grottoes in Bingling Temple include Shang Temple, Xia Temple, Wild Stork Gully, Buddha Temple and Shuilian Cave, etc, with more than 200 niches. Among them Xia Temple is the most valuable one. According to the extant calligraphic epigraph in No. 169 Grottoes, the grottoes in Bingling Temple were first carved in the Western Qin era (385-431) of the Sixteen Kingdoms Period (304-439). It experienced continuous cutting and repairs almost in every dynasty. Currently there are about 776 Buddhist sculptures and statues made of stone or clay, and about one thousand square meters of murals.

Xiaojishi Mountain was called Tangshu Grottoes in ancient times, hence the name Tangshu Grottoes for Bingling Temple. Since the late Tang Dynasty (618-907), Tibetan Buddhism began prosperous in the area because of the occupation of Tubo (an ancient tribe of Tibetan ethnic minority) for some time. In the Song Dynasty (960-1279), the place was renamed Bingling Temple again. Bingling in the Tibetan language means a place for one hundred thousand Buddhas to live in, and is similar to Qianfo Cave and Wanfo Cave in Chinese. Bingling Temple is one of the most important grotto temples in China.

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