MAY to OCT daily 9-17:30.
NOV to APR daily 10-17.
Special Caves daily 15:30.
Last entry 1h before closing.
Adults CNY 40, Foreigners CNY 55, Children (<1.4 m) free, Students CNY 20, Seniors (60+) CNY 20, Seniors (70+) free, Disabled free.
Cave 3: Per Person CNY 150.
Cave 4: Per Person CNY 100.
Cave 25: Per Person CNY 200.
|Guided tours:||D=1 h, Max=25.|
Fan Jinshi, ed. (1999):
安西榆林窟 The Anxi Yulin Grottoes
(in Chinese and English).
Gansu National Publishing House.
Langdon Warner (1938): Buddhist Wall-Paintings: A Study of a Ninth-Century Grotto at Wan Fo Hsia.
|Address:||Yulin Grottos, Tel: +86-937-5680111, Tel: +86-937——5680033 (Ticket Office), Cell: +86-189-0937-8986.|
|As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
Please check rates and details directly with the companies in question if you need more recent info.
|7th century||first cave constructed.|
|14th century||youngest cave constructed.|
|1907||explored by Aurel Stein.|
|1925||explored by Langdon Warner on the second Fogg Expedition.|
|1961||designated a Major National Historical and Cultural Site.|
|2008||submitted for inscription on the UNESCO World Heritage List as part of the Chinese Section of the Silk Road.|
榆林窟 (Yulin Grottos, Elm Tree Caves) are Buddhist cave temples located in the cliffs on both sides of the Yulin River. They are named after the river is named after the elm trees lining the shores. Due to the cave temples it is also called 万佛峡 (Wànfóxiá, Wan Fo Hsia, 10,000 Buddha Gorge). There are 42 caves containing, 30 caves in the eastern cliff, which are divided into upper and lower level, and 11 caves in the western cliff. They contain some 250 polychrome statues and 4,200 m² of wall paintings. The caves were created between the Tang dynasty and the Yuan Dynasty. Most caves have an entrance corridor, antechamber, and main chamber. Three caves are different and contain a sort of central wall, which was spared during the excavation of the cave and carved with niches on all four sides.
The Buddhist paintings at the site are showing buddhas, bodhisattvas, apsara, and jataka tales. There are some secular scenes, which show donor portraits or go players and pipa players. They also show representatives of China's ethnic minorities which are characterized by their hairstyles and dress. Farming scenes such as milking a cow or wine-making, a smelting furnace, and a marriage ceremony show daily life. The paintings were created on an earthen render with mineral and organic pigments. Cave 25 is the best preserved cave with murals depicting the Northern and Southern Heavenly Kings, Manjushri, Western Pure Land, and Maitreya Pure Land.
During the tour the caves 5, 11, 12, 13, 17, and 19 are visited. On certain events the caves 14, 16, 21, 23, 26 are open to the public. For the special caves 2, 3, 4, 25 an additional fee is required, they are visited on special tours.