Pastoral paradise

The Leshan Buddha, up close after a strenuous climb.
An altar en route to Emei Shan.
Prayer chits at a temple in Sichuan province. Photo: Sudha Mahalingam
A crystal Buddha in a shop in Sichuan province.
Devotees lighting incense sticks in a Buddhist temple in the province.
An arterial road in Chengdu city, the capital of Sichuan province.
Monks in Wenshu Monastery, one of the largest and best-preserved monasteries in Sichuan.
At Jinli, Chengdu's folk market.
A Chengdu street scene.
A shrine in Wenshu Temple, Chengdu.
Enjoying an intimate moment at the Chengdu Panda Research Station.
Meal time for brown pandas.
Sitting down to a feast of bamboo.
Giant Pandas at the research station.
Meal time for brown pandas.
Some rest after a heavy meal.
A Temple in Mt. Emei, where the first Buddhist temple in China was built in the first century A.D.
A panel showing the distances to various from the Leshan Buddha. Delhi is 2600 km away.
On the way to the giant Buddha image.
The Leshan Buddha, another view.
A dramatic moment in a Sichuan opera in Mt. Emei village.