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Da Ci'en Temple

Located at Yanta South Road in Xian, 2.5 miles (4 kilometers) from the city center, Daci’en (mercy and kindness) Temple is one of renowned Buddhist temples in China, where the landmark of Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, is situated. In 648, the emperor Li Zhi ordered to build the temple to commemorate his dead mother. Four years later, the hierarch Xuanzang had dwelled here to take charge of the temple’s business. Under Xuanzang’s supervision, the pagoda was constructed to keep the Buddhist statues, scriptures, classics and Buddhist relics (Sariras) he brought from India. The temple also became a famous site for Buddhist sutra translation and the birthplace of the Faxiang (Dharma Characteristics) School.

Da Ci'en Temple, Xian
Entrance to the Temple
Ci'en Temple with Big Wild Goose Pagoda inside
Ci'en Temple with Big Wild Goose Pagoda inside
First built in Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), the previous Da Ci’en Temple was the most splendid imperial temple in ancient Chang’an (today’s Xian). Occupying an area of 66 acres (267,000 square meters), the temple originally contained 3 courtyards, with 1,897 rooms in total. However, only the west courtyard survived till Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644). Reconstructed in 1466 with an area of 12.5 acres(50,738 square meters), the present temple has Bell Tower, Drum Tower, Mahavira Hall, Sermon Hall, Xuanzang Sanzang Hall and Big Wild Goose Pagoda along its central axis.

There are two squares on the both north and south sides of the Da Ci’en Temple. The entrance of the temple faces to the south, and a giant bronze statue of Xuanzang towers in front of the square. In front of the temple gate lie four stone lions of Qing Dynasty (1644 - 1911) on both sides. The male one in the east is playing with silk balls, and the female lion in the west is enjoying two baby lions company. Entering the gate, visitors can find two towers. One is the Bell Tower in the east, where hang an iron bell cast in Ming Dynasty (1368 - 1644) whose striking sound can be heard from far away. The other is Drum Tower in the west, which will be stricken at dusk to refresh people.

Mahavira Hall is right ahead of the entrance, so visitors can easily see it. The hall is situated on the central platform of the temple. Inside the hall three different Buddhist statues are enshrined in the middle, namely Vairocana, Mahavairocana and Sakyamuni. In the east side is the statue of Kasyapa, one of students of Sakyamuni, and in the west side is the statue of Ananda, Sakyamuni’s cousin. They are surrounded by 18 arhats on both sides.
Burning Incense
Burning Incense before Mahavira Hall
Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian
Solemn Big Wild Goose Pagoda
To the north of Mahavira Hall is situated the Sermon Hall. It is two-storied: the upper Buddhist Sutra Depositary and the lower preaching room. Many Buddhist classical works and sutra translation pieces accomplished by Xuanzang are collected in the depositary. The preaching room stores up portraits of Xuanzang and a Buddhist statue base ever used by him.

Getting out of Sermon Hall, visitors can see the majestic Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The seven-storied pagoda is 211 feet (64.5 meters) high, where the Buddhist relics brought from India are worshiped. Reaching at the top, visitors can have a bird view of entire Xian. There is a charge of CNY 40 per person to climb up the pagoda.

In Xuanzang Sanzang Hall enshrine the Buddhist relics of Xuanzang’s parietal bone and his bronze sitting statue. Large delicate frescoes record the big events of his lifetime. Bronze inscriptions, wood and stone carvings are displayed in the hall. It is the largest memorial of Xuanzang in the current era. In addition, there is a basement in the northwest corner of the hall, where stores the original palm leaf manuscript brought from India by Xuanzang.

Besides, visitors also can go to the Pagodas Forest in the east of the temple. There are 9 pagodas towering together, which enshrine the Buddhist relics of successive abbots of the temple. Their names and birthdates are inscribed on the pagodas.
Xuanzang Sanzang Hall
Xuanzang Sanzang Hall
Pagodas Forest
Pagodas Forest

By bus
Take the bus 5, 19, 27, 30, 34, 41, 224, 237, 242, 400, 401, 408, 500, 501, 521, 527, 601, 606, 701, 715, 920, tour 6, tour 8, and get off at Big Wild Goose Pagoda South Square.

By subway
Take subway line 3 to Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta) Station. Then walk south for around 0.6mi (1km) to arrive.
Xian Bus / Subway Search

By taxi
It takes 15 minutes and costs CNY 20 from the Bell Tower.
It takes 20 minutes and costs CNY 30 from the Xian Railway Station.
Admission fee

CNY 50 (People over 70 can enjoy the tickets for free.)
Extra Fare for pagoda climbing: CNY 40

Opening hours 08:00 – 18:00

 After viewing the temple, visitors can go to the squares and gardens around Big Wild Goose Pagoda and enjoy the fountain light and music show at the north square. There are some other nearby attractions also worthy of your visit, such as Shaanxi History Museum, Tang Paradise, Qujiang Ocean Park, Qujiang Pool Park and Cool Cave Heritage Park.