The Spring Temple Buddha in Henan, China, stands 502 feet tall — impossible to miss for drivers along Highway 311. The Buddha stands atop a lotus throne in the Fodushan Scenic Area, not far from a famous hot springs. Completed in 2002, this Vairocana, or celestial Buddha, was reportedly conceived and built in response to an act of the Taliban in 2001.
At 128 m (420 ft), which includes a 20 m (66 ft) lotus throne, it is the tallest statue in the world. When the 25 m (82 ft) pedestal/building it is placed upon is taken into account, the monument has a total height of 153 m (502 ft). As of October 2008, the hill on which the statue stands is being reshaped to form two further pedestals, the upper one being 15 m tall. The total height of the monument is now said to be 208 m.
Plans for its construction were announced soon after construction had begun on the Maitreya Project by Indian and British planners in Bihar, Northern India, which set out to be the world’s largest statue itself.
The project as a whole was estimated to cost around $55m, $18m of which being spent on the statue. It was originally estimated to consist of 1,100 pieces of copper cast, with a total weight of 1,000 tonnes. Plans of the construction of the Spring Temple Buddha were announced soon after the blowing up of the Bamiyan Buddhas by the Taliban in Afghanistan. China has condemned the systematic destruction of the Buddhist heritage of Afghanistan.
The Spring Temple Buddha derives its name from the nearby Tianrui hot spring, which spews water at 60 °C and is renowned in the area for its curative properties. The Foquan Temple, built during the Tang dynasty, houses the "Bell of Good Luck", placed on top of Dragon Head peak. This bronze bell weighs 116 tons.