Mogao Grottoes

Mogao Caves, a shrine of Buddhist art treasures, 25 km (15.5miles) from downtown Dunhuang. Mogao means high up in the desert. According to Tang Dynasty records, a monk had witnessed onsite a vision of thousand Buddhas under showers of golden rays. Thus inspired, he started the caves construction work that spanned ten dynasties. Mogao Caves are commonly known as the Caves of a Thousand Buddhas. The Mogao Caves are a depository of historical and cultural exchanges over more than a thousand years between China and other nations. The level of cultural information available here has spawned a whole new field of study called "Dunhuangology"!
Most of the paintings can be divided into one of seven categories that include jataka stories that depict beneficence to Sakyamuni in his previous incarnations, sutras illustrating suffering and transmigration, and traditional Chinese mythology. Many caves were restored during the Yuan Dynasty. The murals depict various Indian mandalas and bodhisattvas. Some caves were decorated in the Tibetan style. During the Ming Dynasty, Dunhuang was abandoned, and the caves gradually faded into the sand of the Gobi desert until a Taoist priest discovered the treasure house in beginning of the 19th century. The Mogao Grottoes is a popular toursist attraction when you travel to Dunhuang. Please notice that no photo within the caves! That's a way to protect the relics and an electronic torch maybe necessary to see inside the caves.

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