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We continued to drive about 100 km west of Kugo to Kizil Caves(克孜爾千佛洞) which is on the edge of Tarim Basin in Kizil Township. Before we proceeded to the site, we had to walk around 1 km through a lane embowered with huge trees on either side. It was a perfect opportunity for us to take a "bath in forest" as a refreshment for our respiratory tracts which had been exposed to sandy air for days.
According to tourists guide, there are 236 Buddhist rock-cut caves carved into cliff horizontally for a length of 2 km which were built from 3rd to 9th century. But there were only six of them being open for the tourist on the day. Every cave comprises of a large vaulted chamber located in front of the column and a smaller rear chamber behind with two short, tunnel-like corridors on the sides linking these spaces. In the front chamber, there are murals or sculpture, or both, of 3-dimensional images of Buddha. Kizil is one of four biggest Buddhist Caves complex in China. I have visited the one in Luoyang, and next year I may visit another one in Shanxi.
Like some of othe relics, the Cave was found by "expeditionists" and "archeologists" from West in early 20th century. Inevitably, due to some reasons, many murals and sculptures were thus "looted" and sent to other countries as private-owned antiques or exhibits in museums.
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