Statues of Buddha have been attracting tourists all over the world and apart from the posture (called Mudra), its location and material used in the structure, the visitors are keen to know the height of the statue. In fact, Buddha statues are taken as icons representing wisdom and compassion. At many places these statues are very tall and their height humbles the humans, giving the sensation of spiritual tourism.
Striving to achieve new heights and breaking the previous records is a human nature.The race of erecting the largest or the biggest Buddha is not over as yet.
Do you know which is the tallest (biggest) statue on the earth? Yes, this is still in making at Kushinagar in India. A giant 152 mts (500 ft).
Similarly, the great reclining Buddha at Myanmar will soon no longer be the largest reclining Buddha as a new stone carved reclining Buddha would be about 416 m (1365 ft) long.
But till such time these giants are erected, let us see which are the tallest Buddha statues in the world as on today.
Location: Zhaocun township, Lushan County, Henan, China
Height: 128 meters (420 ft). It includes 20 meters (66 ft) throne which is lotus shaped (Tallest completed so far). If the height of the building on which it is placed is also taken into consideration, then it measures 153 meters (502 ft).
Description: Built over a Buddhist monastery, near a hot water spring at Tianrui, it depicts Vairocana Buddha
Location: Village Khatakan Taung near Monywa, Myanmar
Height: 116 mts (381 ft). It stands on a throne of 13.5 mts (44 ft) which makes it the 2nd largest Buddha at nearly 130 mts (427 ft).
Description: This is a unique combination of standing and reclining Buddha and a great tourist attraction on a hill in Myanmar since 2008. This hollow structure has 31 storeys with murals on the interiors of walls and images depicting Buddha Mudras. The reclining Buddha is on a golden pedestal, so far the largest at 95 mts. The reclining Buddha is hollow and visitors can walk in to have its panoramic view and display of 9000 images of Buddha.
Location: 2083 Kunu-cho in Ushiku city of Ibaraki Prefecture, Japan
Height: 120 mts (390 ft) which includes base measuring 10 m (33 ft) and a platform which is lotus shaped and of the same size as base.
Description: It is Amitabha Buddha, weighing about 4003 tons and is made up of bronze. The chest of the statue is like a museum which can be visited using elevator. The entry to Level 1 leads to a dark lobby with a single shaft of light in the centre. Level 2 is known as World of Gratitude and Thankfulness which is dedicated to scriptural studies. Many prefer visiting Level 3 which has 3000 samples of gold Buddha statues and finally the Level 4 which is room of Mt. Grdhrakuta over-viewing flower garden and small animal park.
After completion in 1993, it was listed as the highest Buddha statue in the world in Guinness Book of World Records in 1995. Its hugeness can be experienced from miles away against blue sky and the beauty of the surroundings on reaching the base with flowers in abundance.
Location: In the sea of Sanya, Hainan island province, China. It is near the Nanshan Temple of Sanya.
Height: The 108 mts (354 ft)
Description: It is a three-faced statue of Bodhisattva Avalokitesvara. It looks the same from different angles because of the design. Its two sides face South China Sea and third side faces inland. This way this statue represents blessings and protection of China and the whole world. Also each aspect of the statue has a different religious symbol, namely, a sutra, a string of prayer beads and a lotus. It has been funded by Chinese companies and enshrined in 2005 in the presence of monks from different parts of the world.
Location: Sendai, Miyagi Prefecture, Japan
Height: 100 mts (328 ft)
Description: Dai Kannon is memorial of the 100th anniversary of Sendai City. Dai means big and Kannon is a statue of Guan Yin, who is bodhisattva of compassion. This Kannon is holding a wishing stone in her right hand and a water jug in the left hand. Inside the statue there are 12 floors which can be reached by elevator.
There was devastation in this area during tsunami in 2011 and as citizens come out of it they take courage from the firmly standing Dai Kannon.
Location: Kita no Miyako Park, Ashibetsu city, in Sorachi Subperfecture, Hokkaido, Japan
Height: 88 mts (289 ft)
Description: It is the ‘white-robed’ Kannon, the Goddess of Mercy. There is halo behind the Kannon’s head. One hand is raised with the thumb and forefinger together. The other hand is postured down with thumb and middle finger together. It is based on a lotus flower and has twenty storeys inside.
Location: Small Lingshan mountain on the western side of Qinlv peak of Mashan in Wuxi city, Jiangsu Province of People’s Republic of China.
Height: 88 mts (289 ft)
Description: It is a bronze and tin statue of Sakyamuni Buddha. Weighing over 725 tons, it was completed in 1996 and is one of the largest in China. Approaching the statue is a thrilling experience as one has to climb 216 stairs which signifies 108 troubles and 108 wishes, in the Ascending Cloud Avenue with seven platforms. The right hand of the statue is in famous Abhaya Mudra which is considered to be the gesture of ‘Fearlessness’ and the other one in the ‘Benefiction Mudra’. The pedestal of the statue has a three-storeyed museum about Buddha.
Location: Awaji Island, Hyogo Prefecture, Japan
Height: 80 mts (262 ft). Actually plus 20m (65.5ft) more If pedestal included, making it a total 100 mts (328 ft)
Description: It was a project of a rich Realtor of Japan who constructed a five storey building, 20 mts tall and having different items like religious exhibits, private collections of the Realtor, a restaurant, a banquet hall etc on different floors. Apparently, it could not become very popular as it did not have the reputation of a purely religious venture. There are maintenance concerns of the statue after the death of the Realtor and his wife.
Location: Near Biepu, Xinzhu County, Taiwan. Standing tall above the shore of Emei Lake.
Height: 72 mts (236 ft)
Description: It is Maitreya (returning) Buddha and one of the four in Taiwan. The future Buddha is smiling and is a symbol of hope for the humanity. With the whole world in his right hand and prayer beads in the left, the laughing Buddha represents all the happiness on his face. The protruding belly speaks the satisfaction. Wait for the return.
Location: Eimeishan city, Sichuan province (Near Leshan)
Height: 71 mts (233 ft), the tallest carved out of a hill
Description: Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, this 8th century creation is huge and looks majestic. Built during the Tang dynasty, the monk named Haitlong had a mission to pacify the turbulent waters of the river flowing there. Not during his lifetime but ultimately on completion of this project much later, the river water became safer for ships passing due to deposits of stone removed during construction of the statue. The vegetation around is unique, some as old as 1000 years. It has shown some degradation due to weathering and pollution.
The quest never ends
The never ending quest of human kind establishes new records. The tallest Buddha statue now planned is by the Maitreya Project which is an International Project in India. The proposed statue will be 152 m (500 ft), bronze structure. The proposed tallest Buddha in the world will have steal truss construction and covered by around 6000 aluminium bronze panels.