A Journey Exploring Cave Art along the Silk Road

About Cave Art.

In layout and colour combination, the murals are in perfect harmony with the painted sculptures so that in a cave shrine we find one whole piece of well-integrated art.
Yungang Grottoes is located at the foot of Wuzhou Mountain. More than 51000 statues are still existing in 53 caves continuing at abt 1km at length, well known as the world’s art treasures.
The misted smokes on the carvings in Longmen Grotto Cave had been formed for quite a long time, and cause serious damage to the environment and effect of this valuable art works.
But the greatest achievement of all was Buddhist grotto art.

D01 Xi’an                                      Accommodation: Xi’an

We will meet you at the airport in Xi’an, the ancient capital of China,today it is a bustling provincial capital of Shaanxi, with the old city wall and monuments reminding us of its past glory. The afternoon is left open for you to explore the city or to rest at the hotel.

bell tower in xi an

D02 Xi’an via Jingchuan to Pingliang           Accommodation: Pingliang

A drive to Jingchuan in southeast Gansu will take nearly a whole day from Xi’an. Visit the Nanshiku Temple, 40 km far from the Jingchuan city. Many of the temple’s caves have unfortunately fallen into disrepair, but the remaining caves are still very impressive and are certainly worth a visit. Then drive to Pingliang where we have a dinner.

D03 Pingliang to Guyuan                   Accommodation: Guyuan
we are going to visit the Kongtong Mountains in the morning. After lunch we will depart for Guyuan, a small town in southern Ningxia Province.

D04 Guyuan via Xumishan Grotto to Tianshui     Accommodation: Tianshui
We will leave Guyuan in the morning for Xumishan, an impressive set of Buddhist grottoes located 50 km south of town. Xumi is the Chinese translation of a Sanskrit word meaning ‘the state of the Holy Spirit.’ There are 132 caves housing 300 Buddhist statues dating back from the Northern Wei to the Sui and Tang dynasties, with the oldest ones estimated to be more than 1,400 years old. In the afternoon we will head back into Gansu Province to go to Tianshui, the first important Silk Road town west of Shaanxi.

D05 Tianshui to Maijishan Grottoes           Accommodation: Tianshui

The Maijishan grottoes, approximately an hour’s drive away from Tianshui city, are located in a spectacular natural setting surrounded by precipitous cliffs. Maijishan Grottoes are fames for its clay sculptures in China, and date back from the Northern Wei to the Qing dynasties. There are more 7000 clay sculptures exist now. We will return to Tianshui and visit the Fuxi Temple in the afternoon. Fuxi was the ancestor of Chinese nation.

D06 Tianshui to Wushan                     Accommodation: Wushan

The road from Tianshui to Lanzhou has several little-known but fascinating reminders of the Silk Road era. The main attraction of Gansu, 65 km (41 mi) west of Tianshui, is Daxiang Shan (Giant Statue Mountain). It gets its name from the giant 23-meter (75 ft) statue of moustaches Sakyamuni Buddha carved out of the mountain cliff during the Tang dynasty.  In Wushan, you can visit the Shuilian Dong (Water Curtain Grottoes), which contain a number of fascinating relics, including the Lashao Temple and the Thousand Buddha Cave site. Construction at the grottoes began during the Sixteen States period (304-439 AD) and continued over the dynasties. The Lashao Temple was built during the Northern Wei (386-534). There is a 30-meter-tall (100 ft) statue of Sakyamuni on the mountain cliff, with lions and elephants at his feet. The grottoes, about 30 km (20 mi) north of Wushan, can only is reached along a dried-up river bed.

shuilian cave

D07 Wushan to Lanzhou                       Accommodation: Lanzhou

We will leave Wushan in the morning for Lanzhou, which is 4 hours away by car. Lanzhou, the capital of Gansu province, was once an important garrison town situated on major trade routes to central Asia. We will take the afternoon to explore the provincial museum, the seeing sight beside the Yellow River including the Iron Bridge, Water Wheel Garden and the mother statue of Yellow River.

gansu museum

D08 Lanzhou to Liujiaxia to Lanzhou          Accommodation: Lanzhou

After breakfast we will drive to Liujiaxia, where we will take a boat to Binlingsi Grottoes, which was built during the Xiqin Dynasty. ‘Bingling’ in Sanskrit means ‘a place where millions of Buddhas gather.


D09 Lanzhou to Wuwei                       Accommodation: Wuwei

We will drive to Wuwei where we are going to visit the Tiantishan Caves far from the city 40 km and the caves face the reservoir. It is said that the giant Buddha here was the earliest one in China. Then back to visit the Leitai Terrance where the famous Flying Horse was unearthed from an Eastern Han Dynasty.

D10 Wuwei to Jiayuguan                     Accommodation: Jiayuguan

We will drive to Jiayuguan in the morning and visit the Giant Buddha Temple at Zhangye on the way. This is the largest sleeping Buddha indoor in China. After lunch at Zhangye we continue drive to Jiayuguan to visit the Jiayuguan Fortress.

giant buddha temple

D11 Jiayuguan                             Accommodation: Jiayuguan

We are going to visit the Jiayuguan Fortress, the western terminus of Great Wall. And we visit the Wei and Jin underground tombs the special construction of tomb and the painted brick are unique and original at least 1700 years old.

jiayuguan great wall

D12 Jiayuguan to Dunhuang               Accommodation: Dunhuang

We are going to visit Yulin Caves on the way to Dunhuang; we will have lunch at Guazhou then drive to Yulin Caves. After that we are driving to Dunhuang, the cross-point of west and east culture.

D13 Dunhuang – Mogao Caves             Accommodation: Dunhuang

Visit the Mogao Caves all day, which display some of the earliest Buddhist arts dating back to the Northern Wei Period. In the well-preserved 492 caves, there are more than 45 thousand square meters murals and 2400 painted clay statues, the Hidden Library Caves made a stunning of numerous Buddhist sutras, manuscripts and silk paintings.

mogao cave

D14 Dunhuang                           Accommodation: Dunhuang

In the morning, we invite the Buddhism scholar make a lecture about the Cave art in Gansu, a summary for our trip. visits the Sand Dune and Crescent Moon Lake in the morning, you can’t believe the sand and water exist together at least 2000 years, but the lake never fills up the sand.

Crescent Moon Lake

D15 Dunhuang     

Take the flights to final destination. Tour ends.