Yungang Grottoes

The Yungang Grottoes are one of the three major cave clusters in China, punctuate the north cliff of Wuzhou Mountain, Datong. The area was excavated along the mountain, extending 1 km (0.62 miles) from east to west, revealing 53 caves and over 51,000 stone statues.

The Caves are divided into east, middle, and west parts. Pagodas dominate the eastern parts; west caves are small and mid-sized with niches. Caves in the middle are made up of front and back chambers with Buddha statues in the center. Embossing covers walls and ceilings.

Believed to be established in 450, Yungang is a relic of the Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534). Absorbing Indian Gandhara Buddhist art, Yungang sculptures developed traditional Chinese art melded with social features of the time.

During the reign of Emperor Xiao Wen a monk named Tanyao took charge of the construction of Yungang Grottoes. The largest cave is No.6. In the 20-meter (65.6-foot)-high cave stands a 15-meter (49.2-foot)-high pagoda-like column decorated with Buddha statues and designs. On the four sides of the tower pillar, and on the east, south and west walls of the cave, 33 embossed panels depict the story of Saykamuni.

Shanxi Yungang Caves Caves worth special attention are No.16, 17, 18, 19, and 20. Upon Tan Yao's suggestion, five statues of Emperors Taizu, Taizong, Shizu, Gaozong, and Gaozu as Buddha express the religious theme that the Emperor is Buddha. 

Caves housing these statues are known as the Five Tan Yao Caves, similar in style but not identical. The statue in Cave 20 is martial and stately, No.19 handsome and elegant, while No.18 is dignified but lively. Their similarity lies in their thick lips, big noses, slanted eyes and broad shoulders depicting the ethnic culture of the time.

Yungang Grottoes graphically tell the story of past glory.

By Bus
Take No. 4 bus at Datong Railway Station and transfer No. 3 bus at Xin Kaili

By Rail / Trains
Trains from Beijing - an eight-hour journey.

Daily overnight trains run from Beijing to Datong and from Datong to Beijing. A hardsleeper ticket costs around 250,- Yuan. Booking tickets at the Datong train station can be difficult as for popular directions a large part of the tickets are hatched by black market sellers when they become available four days before the train runs. So book your tickets from Datong as early as possible. The night trains arrive and start from Beijing West Station (Beijing Xi Zhan).

The quickest way southwards (Shanghai, Hongkong, etc.) is over Beijing, and beside the night train there is is daily morning train, starting at 8:50, costing 45,- Yuan for a hardseater.

CNY 60.

8:00am - 17:00pm.

About 2 hour(s).

Garden Hotel, Datong
59 Danan Street, Datong 037008 China.

Hongqi Grand Hotel, Datong
11 Zhanqian St, Train Station, Datong 037006 China.
Tel: (0352)2816813 | Fax: (0352)2816671)