Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

If you have seen the emblem of Xi’an, you can see the image of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. It was erected in 652 by Emperor Gaozong of Tang dynasty in the monastery of great benevolence (Da Ci’en Temple). Monk Xuanzang (602-654), the most famous Chinese pilgrim settled there to translate the Buddhist scripture that he had brought back from his travel, hence the other nickname which is regularly attributed to him: The pagoda of the sutras.

The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda stands at 64m in height and was built based on a square plan, testimony to its antiquity because all the later pagodas are based on a hexagonal plan. It stands behind a succession of pavilions recently restored in a particular style.

According to legend, the Buddha once incarnated as a wild goose, fell from the sky, and died to warn the world not to kill, so the local people believed in Buddhism. Since then, Indian believers will be named after the wild goose when they build a pagoda. Monk Xuanzang learned this story when he went to India, so after returning to Chang’an (now called Xi’an), he built the pagoda in Indian shape and named it “Giant Wild Goose Pagoda” to follow the original name of the Indian Tower.

Architecturally, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is a model. Built with bricks, without cement joints, and its facade decorated with simple slits, the legendary pagoda was a real architectural marvel.

To the delight of visitors, the pagoda can be climbed. Its top is accessible and allows you to enjoy a panorama of the whole city. The interior walls of the pagoda feature engraved statues of Buddha by the renowned 7th-century artist Yan Liben. The rooms contain the various Buddhist teachings and sutras as well as many marvelous Buddha figurines, and they reveal the memories brought back from India by the monk Xuanzang and testify to the existence of the temple for millennia. Inside, it is possible to attend a Chinese calligraphy class.

Every evening, from 8:30 p.m. to 8:53 p.m., you can admire a show of water jets and light on the square set up to the north of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. With 110,000 square meters, it is the largest musical fountain in Asia.

Useful information

Chinese Name: 大雁塔
Location: No. 1 Ci’en Street, Yanta Ward, Xi’an City, Shaanxi Province
Opening time:
High season (16/03-14/11): 08h00-17h30
Low season (15/11-15/02): 08h00-17h00
Ticket: Free (30 RMB for the show)
Recommended length of visit: 1-2 hours
Subway: Line 3, get off at Dayanta 大雁塔站

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