The grottoes are in two areas. The northern and southern grottoes are separated by a distance of about 15 kilometers. The grottoes were first dug in the Northern Qi Dynasty. In the Sui, Tang, Song and Ming Dynasties, the digging continued. There are 16 grottoes, over 4,300 Buddhas, lots of carved Buddhas and lots of carved Buddhist scriptures.
The Northern Xiangtangshan Grottoes are in the western side of the Northern Drum Mountain. On the top of the mountain, there exist 9 grottoes. The great Buddha Cave in the northern area of the grottoes is the biggest one. Inside the cave stands the statue of Sakyamuni of that is 5 meters high. The statue is one of the precious art treasures.
The Southern Xiangtangshan Grottoes are in the south of the Drum Mountain and the north shore of the Liuyang River. Entering the scenic spot, you can see temples and a brick tower that were built in the Song Dynasty. On the mountain, there are 7 grottoes on two levels; five on the first floor and two on the second level. They are Huayan Cave, Banruo Cave, Kong Cave, Amitabha Cave, Sakya Cave, Lishi Cave and Thousand-Buddha Cave.
Among them, Huayan Cave with a height of 5 meters is the largest of the Southern Xiangtangshan Grottoes. Inside the cave are carved huge bas-reliefs that tell stories about Buddhism. The Thousand-Buddha Cave is the most impressive because of more than 1000 Buddha statues in it. The skillful carving in the cave is fascinating. In addition to caves, there remain pavilions, ancient towers and other buildings in the Southern Xiangtangshan Grottoes.