Nara is the ancient capital of Japan which was founded over 1,300 years ago. At that time this was the nation’s political and cultural center. The historic monuments of ancient Nara are registered with UNESCO as a world Heritage Site and no other place in Japan boasts more national treasures. The Todai-ji Buddhist Temple is an important part of this heritage and the most important symbol of Nara. There is also the Great Buddha of Nara – a statue which is 15 meters high and is another well-known symbol of Japan.
Todaiji is one of the most important temples in Nara, which attracts over 2 million visitors annually. The decision to build the temple was made by Emperor Shomu in the middle of the eighth century. There are many buildings on the huge area belonging to the temple but the most amazing is The Great Buddha Hall which has 47 meters. It is a reconstruction of a building from the middle of the eighth century which was burned down twice during wars. The current building was rebuilt 300 years ago and it’s only two-third size of the original temple. Still it is the largest wooden building in the world. Even now, The Great Buddha Hall makes a huge impression. It is hard to imagine the size of the original temple which was supported by 84 pillars, each 30 meters long and one meter wide.
In the Great Buddha Hall there is the most important statue of the temple. It is the world’s largest bronze Buddha – The Great Buddha of Nara. He represents Vairocana – the Buddha who illuminates the world with cosmic truth to guide people to enlightenment. The construction of the gigantic Buddha was decreed by Emperor Shomu in 743. He wished to bring the people of Japan salvation from disaster and disease throughout Buddhism. The statue is 15 meters high and for its implementation, the unique technique of casting metal was used. They also used over 500 tons of bronze collected from across Japan.
The dais on which the Buddha rest is in the shape of a lotus flower and there are pictures of the Buddhist vision of the cosmos on its edge. The arrangement of Buddha’s hands is also symbolic. He comforts human fears with his right hand and grant their wishes with the left hand.
There is a legend associated with the pillar inside Temple. The hole in the pillar is the size of the Great Buddha’s nostrils. If you can crawl through the hole, you will be blessed with immunity from disease and unhappiness.
Since we are in Nara, I can’t not to mention once again the greatest attractions of this place – sweet, fluffy and cute deer Sika.
All photos belong to @kocinka
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