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Giant Wild Goose Pagoda – World Cultural Heritage Site on Silk Road

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda or Big Wild Goose Pagoda, is a monumental Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi'an, Shaanxi, China. It was built in c. 648 – c. 649 during the Tang dynasty and originally had five stories. It was rebuilt in 704 during the reign of Empress Wu Zetian and its exterior brick façade was renovated during the Ming dynasty.

One of the pagoda's many functions was to hold sutras and figurines of Gautama Buddha that were brought to China from India by the seventh-century Buddhist monk, scholar, traveler, and translator Xuanzang. Today, the interior walls of the pagoda feature engraved statues of Buddha by the renowned 7th-century artist Yan Liben.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Facts

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, located in southern Xi’an, is a very famous ancient pagoda in China built for more than 1,300 years. It is the bright pearl on the Silk Road with excellent architectural beauty, precious Buddhist relics, rich religious culture, stories of the famous ancient monk - Xuan Zang, etc.

Type: World Cultural Heritage, Buddhist Site

Best Seasons: All year round

Recommended Visiting Time: 2-3 hours

Opening Hours: 8:00-18:30 (peak season), 8:00-18:00 (off season)

Tickets: RMB 80/person for Da Ci’en Temple; RMB 30/person for the pagoda

Address: Daci’en Temple, South Yanta Road, Xi’an, China.

"You have never visited Xian without a visit to the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda". That's how a local saying goes. For hundreds of years, this great pagoda has always been the symbol of Xian. Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta in Chinese) is famous for the great traveler Xuanzang of the Tang Dynasty who traveled from China to India to learn Buddhism and got back to China with many precious Buddhist scriptures. To place these scriptures, Xuan built the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and then translated and taught Buddhism here. By the north side of the pagoda, it is the largest music fountain in Asia for you to admire the fabulous lights and fountain show.

What are the must-see things to see at the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

The Base of the Pagoda

Buddhist statues with delicate carving and couplets of brick carving are well placed on the lintel and door frame. Furthermore, you can appreciate the historic tablet of high value composed by the Taizong Emperor (唐太宗) and the Gaozong Emperor (唐高宗) of Tang dynasty and wrote by the renowned calligrapher Chu Suiliang (). When seeing this perfectly kept tablet, you can not only appreciate the excellent calligraphy, vivid carving patterns, but also the compliment of the arduous Buddhism seeking of Xuan Zang.

The Pagoda Body

The body is the main part of this pagoda, so you can just stroll from the door up to the top floor, admire the featured cultural relics and feel the dense atmosphere of Buddhism. From the history, character, story of Tang dynasty and the life brief of Xuan Zang after entering the south gate. Clime up higher, you can see a series of Buddhist statues, paintings, famous poems for over 1, 000 years, the rare poems of Xuan Zang, and so on. And more, the treasure of this pagoda is the gilding copper statue of Sakyamuni who is the founder of Buddhism. For its sacred culture, groups of visitors come to look this statue with reverence at the 2nd floor.

Besides the illusion of the well-known poets Du Fu (杜甫), Cen Shen (岑参), Gao Shi (高适), etc. expressing their emotions through composing poems and enjoying liquor here at the 6th floor, you can climb up to the top 7th floor and have a full view of this ancient city. It feels like being in the ancient Tang dynasty with crispy chimes and curling incense, and it also seems a Buddhist fairyland with the multiple Buddha statue and other precious relics.

The Treasurable Sarira

The Sarira is the especially holy object for worshipping in Buddhist culture. There are 2 precious Sariras preserved in this pagoda, which were presented by the Shiwuqian (释悟谦) Master from India. According to the related books, Xuan Zang has brought many Sariras back to China, 150 or more than 10,000, no believable evidence. And people still believe they are kept in the underground palace.

Buddha Statues in Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

The Pattra-Leaf Scripture

The pattra-leaf manuscript is the infrequent treasure of Buddhism, which is the Buddhist text written on the pattra leaves for the lack of writing paper. Xuan Zang has brought 657 pattra-leaf manuscripts back, among which, two of about 40cm long and 7cm wide are enshrined on the 4th floor. The thickly dotted Sanskrit is very rare since there are less than 10 people understand.

The Underground Palace

Many specialists believe that there is a palace under the pagoda, which is like the palace under the pagoda in Famen Temple (法门寺) . Evidenced from the historical records, Xuan Zang has brought a lot of valuable relics from India in 645 AD. Recent years, the underground palace was found existing, and many precious relics of Sariras, Pattrra-leaf Scriptures, statue of Xuan Zang, wall paintings, etc. are placed there.

Daci’en Temple

Daci’en Temple where stands the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda was the most famous and grand temple in ancient Xi’an in Tang dynasty, built by the prince Li Zhi in memory of his deceased mother in 648 AD. Being a major translating place for Buddhist text, this temple is especially rich in Buddhist culture. You can stroll in this temple to appreciate the featured Buddhist temples of Chinese style and know more about the life experience of Xuan Zang in the Xuan Zang Temple, and appreciate the historic bell tower and drum tower to feel the antique flavor of ancient China.

Daci’en Temple

Music Fountain Square

The north square is actually a fountain square of 20,000 square meters wide, which is both the largest fountains square and largest waterscape square in Asia. You can see the 2 group sculptures of 100m long, 8 large figure sculptures and 40 landscape sculptures, while appreciate the grand colorful fountain show dancing with the music. Visitors always feel it relaxed with the cool water spurting out, sparkling colorful lights, and the innocent laughing of local people.

Tips: Since the opening time are different in peak season and off season, so please contact us for specific time.

Recommended Route to Visit Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

First enter the Daci’en Temple to feel the rich Buddhist culture and admire the featured old temples. And then, appreciate the appearance of Giant Wild goose Pagoda from a distance or in front of it. If you want to explore more, you can enter the Pagoda to admire the rich Buddhist culture with the precious relics of Buddha statue, paintings, stories of Xuan Zang, etc. up to the top. And appreciate the beautiful view of the while Xi’an city at the 7th floor. Then, come down to north square to have fun with colorful fountains dancing to the music. (For 2-3 hours)

When and Why the Pagoda Was Built

The Pagoda was built in the Tang Dynasty (618-907) for the study of Buddhist scriptures. Although it has been attacked by centuries of weather, war, and seismic activity, which destroyed most of the original material of the structure, a pagoda by this name and style still exists on the site.

The Tang regime gave orders to build a chamber for the translation of Buddhist scriptures in an effort to have the then-widely renowned Master Xuanzang agree to be the head of the temple.

Xuanzang was a Buddhist monk who traveled to India, translated Sanskrit scriptures, and developed theories of consciousness, karma, and rebirth that were adopted by some later popular schools of Buddhism.

How to Get to Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian map

Independent Travellers

Located in the southern Xi’an city, it needs about 30 mins to get to Giant Goose Pagoda from the center of Xi’an by taxi. And also, you can also take subway Line 3 and 4 or public buses to get there.

Travel with Travel Tour China (Top Recommended)

If you want to get rid of hustle of public transportation and troublesome navigation, you can book a private tour package which covers sightseeing, dining and transfer from us. Our local tour guide and driver will escort you to Giant Wild Goose Pagoda with speed and convenience, and take care of all the details. You just need to focus on sightseeing.

Best Time to Visit Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an

In general, the best time to visit Xi’an is spring from March to May, and autumn from September to October, both with moderate and comfortable weather. Besides, Spring offers impressive vibrant scenery while Autumn is the season of harvest, fruit fragrance, and colorful leaves.

How to Plan a Xi'an Tour

Xian has a lot of places to visit. Terracotta Warriors and Horses buried for more than 2000 years is definitely a must-see. After that, take a stroll or rent a bike on the Ancient City Wall, the largest and best-preserved ancient city wall in China, to enjoy panoramic views of modern Xi’an. Then try some local snacks at the bustling and lively Muslim Quarter. On the next day, you can go to visit Da Cien Temple and Giant Wild Goose Pagoda to feel the Buddhist culture, then get a deeper understanding of the past of this city in Shaanxi History Museum. If you are interested in mountain climbing, don’t miss the challenging Mount Huashan which is famous for lofty peaks and steep paths. If you have other ideas or questions about a Xian tour, please feel free to contact us. We are also specialized in customized tours according to your own requirements, interests, travelling budgets, etc.

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