As the symbol of the old-line Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Pagoda) is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It is located in the southern suburb of Xian City, about 4 kilometers (2.49 miles) from the downtown of the city. Standing in the Da Ci'en Temple complex, it attracts numerous visitors for its fame in the Buddhist religion and its simple but appealing style of construction. It is rated as a National Key Cultural Relic Preserve as well as an AAAA Tourist Attraction.
This whole scenic area include the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the Daci'en Temple, and the various squares, gardens and other facilities around.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Originally built in 652 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty (618-907), it functioned to collect Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the hierarch Xuanzang.
Xuanzang started off from Chang'an (the ancient Xian), along the Silk Road and through deserts, finally arriving in India, the cradle of Buddhism. Enduring 17 years and traversing 100 countries, he obtained Buddha figures, 657 kinds of sutras, and several Buddha relics. Having gotten the permission of Emperor Gaozong (628-683), Xuanzang, as the first abbot of Daci'en Temple, supervised the building of a pagoda inside it. With the support of royalty, he asked 50 hierarchs into the temple to translate Sanskrit in sutras into Chinese, totaling 1,335 volumes, which heralded a new era in the history of translation. Based on the journey to India, he also wrote a book entitled 'Pilgrimage to the West' in the Tang Dynasty, to which scholars attached great importance.
As for the reason why it is called Big Wild Goose Pagoda, there is a legend. According to ancient stories of Buddhists, there were two branches, for one of which eating meat was not a taboo. One day, they couldn't find meat to buy. Upon seeing a group of big wild geese flying by, a monk said to himself: 'Today we have no meat. I hope the merciful Bodhisattva will give us some.' At that very moment, the leading wild goose broke its wings and fell to the ground. All the monks were startled and believed that Bodhisattva showed his spirit to order them to be more pious. They established a pagoda where the wild goose fell and stopped eating meat. Hence its name.
Daci'en Temple is the home of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. In 648, to commemorate the dead virtuous queen, royalty ordered the building of a temple named 'Ci'en' (Mercy and Kindness), for which the status and scale far exceeded all others. Today, with an area of 32,314 square meters (38,648.5 square yards), one seventh of the original area, it still retains its grandeur.
Entering the temple you will see two buildings-Bell Tower in the east and Drum Tower in the west. Inside the Bell Tower hangs an iron bell 15 tons (14.76 gross tons) in weight. It was molded in 1548 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Along the central axis are arranged the Hall of Mahavira, Sermon Hall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang. In the Hall of Mahavira are three carved statues of Sakyamuni, and 18 arhats as well as Xuanzang. The Sermon Hall is where Buddhist disciples would listen to a sermon. A bronze statue of Amitabha is dedicated and a Buddha statue is collected by Xuanzang as oblation. The Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang is to the north of the Pagoda. In this hall are Xuanzang's relic and a bronze statue of a seated Xuanzang. The inner wall is chiseled with murals depicting this hierarch's story. Renowned as the contemporary Dunhuang Buddhist storehouse praised by UNESCO, it is the biggest memorial of Xuanzang.
Squares and Gardens around Big Wild Goose Pagoda
There are many featured squares and gardens around the pagoda and temple, which provides the locals and tourists with wonderful resorts for free. The most remarkable one should be the North Square boasting the largest musical fountain in Asia. Besides, the Tang Ci’en Temple Site Park and the Shaanxi Opera Garden to the east, the Shaanxi Folk Customs Garden to the west, as well as the South Square with the statue of Monk Xuanzang and the Great Tang All Day Mall to the south are also worth visiting.
Related Videos of the Locals Doing Morning Exercise around the Pagoda:
Tai Chi Sword Performance Tai Chi Kung Fu Fan Performance
|Admission Fee:||Entrance Fee of the Daci'en Temple: CNY 50 |
Ascending the Pagoda: CNY 40 per person from December 1, 2013
|Opening Hours:||8:00 - 17:00|
|Hours of the Musical Fountain on the North Square:||1. Monday, Wednesday - Friday: 12:00, 21:00 (Jun. 10 - Oct. 5); 12:00, 20:30 (Feb. 1 - Jun. 9; Oct. 6 - Oct. 31) |
2. Tuesday: 21:00 (Jun. 10 - Oct. 5); 20:30 (Feb. 1 - Jun. 9; Oct. 6 - Oct. 31)
3. Weekend and other statutory holidays: 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00, 21:00 (Jun. 10 - Oct. 5); 12:00, 14:00, 16:00, 18:00, 20:30 (Feb. 1 - Jun. 9; Oct. 6 - Oct. 31)
* Note: There is no show from November to the next January except the Spring Festival Holiday.
1. Take Subway Line 2 to Xiaozhai Station (Exit C) and walk eastward for 10 minutes.
Recommended Tours including the visit to the Pagoda:
Transportation to the surrounding scenic spots:
Tang Paradise Cool Cave Park
Take bus 5, 19, 24, 26, 27, 30, 34, 400 or Tourism Bus No. 8 (610) and get off at Cuihua Lu Station.
Take bus 21, 22, 23, 24, 237, 601, 609, 715 or Tourism Bus Route 4 from Big Wild Goose Pagoda and get off at Tang Paradise South Gate. Or take bus no.501, 601 or Tourism Bus Route 8 and get off at Tang Paradise North Gate.
Qujiang Ocean World
Take bus 501, 601 or Tourism Bus Route 8 and get off at Qujiang Ocean World.
Qujiang Pool Park
Take bus 224 and get off at Qujiang Pool Site Park South Gateway.
Cool Cave (Hanyao)
Take bus 22 and get off at Hanyao Road West Crossing Station.
The Tomb of the Second Emperor of Qin Dynasty (The Tomb of Hu Hai)
Take bus 224 or 715 and get off at Qujiang Guanweihui Station, and walk to the west until you see the entrance of the Tomb of the Second Emperor of Qin Dynasty.