December 23, 2013

Nara : Todai-ji

Continuation from here...

The main attraction in Nara, apart from the deers, is Todai-ji or the Eastern Great Temple.

The main entrance to the temple is through this 13th century Nandaimon.

Similar to other temple gates, this enormous gate features two fierce looking Nio Guardian statues. Both statues were carved in 1203, thus the extra protection. The statues along with the gate itself are designated national treasures.

Then passing through another gate, Chumon.

The temple's main hall, Daibutsuden, is said to be the largest wooden building in the world. Even so, this present reconstruction is only two thirds of the original temple hall's size. Can you imagine how massive it was in 752 when it was first built?

Approaching it and stepping up to the platform on which it is built, I was in awe. The sheer scale of this main hall is almost incomprehensible.

To the right of the gargantuan door frame, there is this Binzuru wood from the 18th century (Edo period). The Japanese believe that if you rub the statue on a place that you are afflicted and then rub the spot on your body, you will be healed.

Being large as it is, the hall houses the world's largest bronze statues of Buddha. The Daibutsu (Great Buddha) is a representation of Vairocana, a celestial Buddha.

There's a pair of golden statues on either side of the Daibutsu. To his right is Kokuzo bosatsu, symbolizing vast and boundless wisdom, while to his left is Nyoirin Kannon, the Lord of Compassion and Goddess of Mercy. 

Kokuzo bosatsu

bronze vase of lotus flowers

The Daibutsu sits on a pedestal made of 56 lotus petals made of bronze. These petals are incised in hairline engraving with identical designs, dating from the Nara Period (8th century), and depict the Lotus-Matrix World-System (in Sanskrit known as Padma-garbha-lokadatu, and in Japanese known as Rengezo sekai).

lotus petal engravings

Circling the statue towards the back, I got to see a number of important (and scary looking) sculptures also on display in the hall.

Saw the model of the original Todai-ji. The original temple complex contained two 100 meter high pagodas. However, both were destroyed by earthquake.

A popular attraction in the main hall is a pillar, which have a hole through its base. The hole is exactly the same size as the Daibutsu's nostrils. Woahh.. so big! It is said that anyone who can squeeze through the hole will be granted enlightenment in their next life. I wanted to try.. to see whether I'm skinny enough to pass through it. But I was also conscious should I got stuck in there. hahaha..

the big nostril O_O

peace yo!

posing maut.. hahaha

Making my way out, I found the exit path was lined with a few stalls selling souvenirs. Don't you think it kinda spoil the mood? They should just be outside la.

Todai-ji is open all year round
Visiting hours from 8 am to 5 pm (varies according to months)
Entrance fee is 500 yen (adult), 300 yen (primary school)

Direction : From Kintetsu Nara station, the temple is about 20 minute walk east on Hanna Road towards the northern part of Nara Park

Todai-ji in Nara is an awe-inspiring sight and I was glad to cross off another UNESCO World Heritage Site on the list.
Yup.. me and my never ending world heritage conquest. hehe..

1 comment:

adamo lussana said...

Todai-ji is wonderful temple ... Omamori (japanese charms) of Todai-ji you can buy on ... I'love Japan! ... I hope one day to get back on Japan