The figure of Buddha is the most recognisable symbol of this tradition-rich religion. All over the world, you'll find statues to dedicated to the religous figure's physical form, but where can you find the biggest and the best?
More than just aesthetics
As Buddhism spread around the world, always changing and developing, it's main symbol stayed the same. Statues of the ancient teacher continue to be iconic artistic, religious, and social symbols. Depictions of the Buddha as ornate and large as possible remain central to the religion and these 11 places will give you the best views for soaking up the splendour of this religious tradition.
1. Tian Tan Buddha Statue, Hong Kong
While it may not be the oldest statue on the list, that doesn't make it any less impressive. Completed in 1993, Hong Kong's Tian Tan Buddha measures 111 meters in height and 250 tons in weight, making it the largest open-air seated Buddha statue in the world. The Buddha's right hand faces the sky, inspiring fearlessness and the Buddha's compassionate desire to end human pain and suffering. His left hand lies facing palm-up in his lap, suggesting the Buddha's vow to impart happiness to all.
With its 263 stairs and remote location on Lantau Island, it isn't the easiest to reach. But the tranquil, seated figure combined with ocean and mountain views is worth every last bit of effort.
2. Grand Buddha at Ling Shan, China
This enormous Buddha statue can be found near the city of Wuxi on the banks of Lake Taihu in China's Jiangsu province. Measuring a staggering 289 feet high, the figure is an breathtaking sight, especially when shrouded in fog.
The Buddha is also situated amid a larger religious complex including the Brahma Palace with its elegant wood carvings and intricate murals, and the largest Buddha hand in the world.
3. Daibutsu at Todaiji, Japan
Located in what was once one of the Seven Great Temples of Nara, Japan, this is the world's largest bronze Buddha statue. The Great Buddha Hall was commissioned by Emperor Shomu in 743 CE and was built by donations from civilians. Despite generous contributions, the construction nearly bankrupted the empire. The building and the Buddha statue have been refurbished and rebuilt over centuries.
4. Monywa Buddha, Myanmar
The Monywa Buddha in Myanmar is the largest statue of a reclining Buddha in the world. Measuring almost 300 feet in length, the sculpture is hollow meaning that visitors can wander around its gold and white interior. The reclining statue is meant to represent the Buddha's impending death as he is on the brink of entering Nirvana.