Small Wild Goose Pagoda

 Small Wild Goose Pagoda
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The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is located on the central axis of the Jianfu Temple in south Xi'an. As a national AAAA scenic spot and a world heritage site, the Buddhist pagoda survives from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). Tourists can learn about the history and culture of Xi'an by visiting the pagoda and the Xi'an Museum in the southwest of the temple. The pagoda is not as famous as the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, but is more peaceful and tranquil. As part of the artistic heritage of Buddhist architectures of the Tang Dynasty, it witnessed how Buddhism was introduced to China and integrated with the culture of Han nationality.

Why called Small Wild Goose Pagoda?

It was called “Jianfu Temple Pagoda” during the Tang and Song (960-1279) Dynasties. Its present name is closely related to the “Giant Wild Goose Pagoda”.

In the Yonghui Period (650-655) under the reign of Tang Emperor Gaozong, “Wild Goose Pagoda” was built in the Da Ci’en Temple to store the sutras which the eminent monk Xuan Zang had brought from India to Chang’an, today’s Xi'an. In the Jinglong Period (707-710) under the reign of Tang Emperor Zhongzong, “Jianfu Temple Pagoda” was built in order to store the Buddhist sutras that Monk Yi Jing had brought from India.

Because it looked like the “Wild Goose Pagoda” but was a little bit smaller, “Jianfu Temple Pagoda” was called the “Small Wild Goose Pagoda”, while the previous “Wild Goose Pagoda” in the Da Ci’en Temple became known as the “Giant Wild Goose Pagoda”.

Structure of a Rectangular Pyramid

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda was built of blue bricks. Originally, it had 15 storeys, and measured about 45 meters (148 feet) in height. Because of numerous violent storms and earthquakes, the two upper storeys were destroyed. The existing 13-storey pagoda measures 43.4 meters (142.4 feet) in height.

The base of the pagoda is square, each side measuring 11.38 meters (37.34 feet). Beneath the pagoda there is an underground palace. The multi-eaves are made of overlapping bricks. The ground storey has two doors facing south and north respectively and other storeys have exquisite windows. The height and the side line length of every storey decrease progressively. So, the pagoda looks like a rectangular pyramid, with a beautiful design and perfect proportions.

Ascending the Pagoda

Inside the pagoda, a narrow wooden stairway winds its way to the top, requiring quite an effort by those making the ascent. Children and seniors with poor physical condition are not recommended to ascend. Additionally, it is hard for larger people to pass through the narrow stairway on the upper floors.

There is a small open platform on the top due to the missing two floors. Please be aware that it is very small, allowing only ten people at one time. For tourists successfully reaching the top, it is a special experience to have a bird’s eye view of the whole temple through the broken top. One can even see a panoramic view of the ancient city of Xi'an on clear days.

Magical Survival from Earthquakes

In 1487, a violent earthquake occurred and caused the Small Wild Goose Pagoda to crack in the middle. The crack was over 0.33 meter (1.1 feet). In another violent earthquake in 1521, the crack disappeared and the two parts of the pagoda magically combined with each other overnight. People felt very confused and called it “Magical Combination”.

The mystery was revealed during the restoration after 1949. The reason why the Small Wild Goose Pagoda can withstand dozens of earthquakes is that wise ancient craftsmen have formed its foundation as a hemisphere of rammed earth. In this way, pressure can be distributed evenly when an earthquake happens. Just like a never-fall doll, the flexible and stable pagoda can survive these storms and earthquakes.

Bell in Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Morning Bell Chime

Morning Bell Chime

The Morning Bell Chime of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda has been known as one of the “Top Eight Scenes of Xi'an” since ancient times. The original bell was built in the third year (1192) during the reign of the  Emperor Zhangzong in the Jin Dynasty. It was installed in the Jianfu Temple and tolled every morning to pray for happiness in the Qing Dynasty (1644-1911). Now the bell hangs in the Bell Tower near the pagoda and a copy of it hangs in a steel frame in the open to be rung by tourists.

How to Get to Small Wild Goose Pagoda

 By Bus:
Take bus No. 21, 40, 46, 224, 258, 410, 521, 700 or Tourist Line 7 and get off at Xiaoyanta (Small Wild Goose Pagoda) Station and get in through the North Gate.

 By Metro:
Take Metro Line 2, get off at Nanshaomen Station, and leave from Exit A1 or A2. Walk west about 6 minutes and get in through the North Gate.
Xi'an Bus/ Metro Search
Ticket Price Entering Jianfu Temple: Free of charge on ordinary days; CNY 20 to 25 during the temple fair from 1st to 15th of the first lunar month.
Ascending the Small Wild Goose Pagoda: CNY 30
Opening Hours March 15-October 31: 09:00-18:00 (Ticket selling stops at 17:00)
November 1-March 14: 09:00-17:30 (Ticket selling stops at 16:30)
Close: Every Tuesday (except for Chinese national holidays)
* During the temple fair, the temple allows entry until 21:00 and is emptied at 22:00, while the Small Wild Goose Pagoda closes at 16:30 as usual.

Top 10 Things to Do in Xi'an

- Last updated on Sep. 21, 2023 by Gabby Li -
Questions & Answers on Small Wild Goose Pagoda
Asked by Diong from MALAYSIA | Sep. 12, 2019 01:29Reply
Can i enter the Small Wild Goose Pagoda's Park early in the morning 7am?
I don't plan to go up the Small Wild Goose Pagoda, just want to take photo outside the pagoda. Do you know what time the park open in December?
Answers (2)
Answered by Eason from AUSTRALIA | Sep. 15, 2019 20:51

This attraction opens from 9:00 to 17:30 and it covers the park.
Answered by Diong from MALAYSIA | Sep. 17, 2019 02:06

I see. The I shall follow the opening time . Thanks
Asked by Marco from ITALY | Aug. 07, 2015 10:00Reply
Small wild goose pagoda opening hours
What time does it close in September?? Some websites say 4 p.m., others 5 p.m. Does anybody know the exact time?
Answers (1)
Answered by Tom from AUSTRALIA | Aug. 07, 2015 21:26

According to the official website, the ticketing stops at 17:00 and the site is cleared off at 18:00 in September.
Asked by Anna from USA | Mar. 20, 2015 11:26Reply
Why was the Small Goose Pagoda built?
Who made it and Why?
Answers (1)
Answered by David from INDONESIA | Mar. 21, 2015 00:55

It was built in AD684. And emperor Ruizong (Lidan) of Tang Dynasty ordered to construct it in memory of his father emperor Gaozong (Lizhi).
Asked by Walter Calderon from USA | Feb. 16, 2015 11:09Reply
How far is from the Drum Tower in Xi"An to the Big Wild Goose Pagoda?
Answers (1)
Answered by Robin from NEW ZEALAND | Feb. 16, 2015 19:34

The distance is about 5 miles.
You can take public bus no. 606 at Zhonglou (Bell Tower) Station and get off at the South Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. After arrival, walk to the destination.
Or you can take a taxi directly. The fare is no more than CNY 20.
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