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Xian - Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Shaanxi - Xian - Yan'an

As the symbol of the old-line Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayanta) is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists. It is located in the southern suburb of Xian City, about 4 kilometer from the downtown of the city. Standing in the Temple of Great Maternal Grace complex, it attracts numerous visitors for its fame in the Buddhist religion, its simple but appealing style of construction, and its new square in front of the temple.


•  Temple of Great Maternal Grace

Known as the best-preserved Buddhist temple complex, the Dacien Si was initially built in 589, during the Sui dynasty. At that time, it was named as Wulou Temple. In 648 AD the Emperor Li Zhi, then still a crown prince, sponsored a repair project on the temple to honor his mother, Empress Wende. The Temple then obtained its name Da Ci'en Temple, meaning the Thanksgiving Temple.

According to the records, the temple, with more than 10 courtyards, contained 1,897 marvelous chambers altogether and was a place of grand extent in the Tang dynasty. Within the temple, there is a small bell tower from which a bell hangs, which was used for telling time to the monks in ancient times. Daxiongbaodian is the main hall of the temple. It went into gradual decay after the downfall of the Tang dynasty. The halls and rooms that have survived the age are structures that were built in the Ming dynasty.


•  Big Goose Pagoda

First built to a height of 60 m with 5 stories, it is now 64.5 meter high with an additional 2 stories. Externally it looks like a square cone, simple but grand and it is a masterpiece of Buddhist construction.

Built of brick, its structure is very firm. Inside the pagoda, stairs twist up so that visitors can climb and overlook the panorama of Xian City from the arch-shaped doors on 4 sides of each storey. On the walls are engraved fine statues of Buddha by the renowned artist Yan Liben of the Tang dynasty. Steles by noted calligraphers also grace the pagoda.

Big Wild Goose PagodaOriginally built in 652 during the reign of Emperor Gaozong of the Tang dynasty, it functioned to collect Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the hierarch Xuanzang.

First built to a height of 60 m with 5 stories, it is now 64.5 meter high with an additional 2 stories. Externally it looks like a square cone, simple but grand and it is a masterpiece of Buddhist construction. Built of brick, its structure is very firm. Inside the pagoda, stairs twist up so that visitors can climb and overlook the panorama of Xian City from the arch-shaped doors on 4 sides of each storey. On the walls are engraved fine statues of Buddha by the renowned artist Yan Liben of the Tang dynasty. Steles by noted calligraphers also grace the pagoda.

As for the reason why it is called Big Wild Goose Pagoda, there is a legend. According to ancient stories of Buddhists, there were 2 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 it got the name "Big Wild Goose Pagoda".

Surrounding Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the scenery is also quite charming, especially the square north of the Da Ci'en Temple. Covering about 110,000 square m plus 20,000 square m of water area, it holds many records: in Asia, it is the biggest Tang-culture square, the biggest fountain and waterscape square, and the largest-scale sculptures area. In the world, it has the most benches, the longest light-belt, and the largest-scale acoustic complex.

The entire square is composed of waterscape fountains, a cultural square, gardens and tourist paths. There you can taste real Chinese culture and traditions and fully enjoy the truly attractive views.