Big Wild Goose Pagoda
- Location: near Yanta south road, Yanta District, Xi'an City, Shannxi Province, China.
- Recommended reason: one of the famous landmark buildings in Xi'an; the earliest existing and the largest pavilion-style pagoda in Tang dynasty
- Opening hours: 08:00-17:30
Big Wild Goose Pagoda is located in Ci'en Temple, so people also call it Ci'en Temple. As the earliest existing and the largest pavilion-style pagoda in the Tang dynasty, it is really a masterpiece of Chinese Buddhist architecture in the Tang dynasty. And for now, Big Wild Goose Pagoda also becomes a world heritage site.
History of Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda was built in 625 AD and was designed by Master Monk Xuanzang of the Tang dynasty. It was said that Xuanzang lived in a goose-shape hill when he traveled to India. In memory of this hill, he decided to name it as Big Wild Goose Pagoda. And the "big" was used to make a distinction between Big Wild Goose Pagoda and Small Wild Goose Pagoda. This pagoda was built for storing the scripture books which Xuanzang brought back from India.
In Tang dynasty, Ci'en Temple and Big Wild Goose Pagoda are landmarks of the dynasty and nation. Big Wild Goose Pagoda is not only a magnificent attraction, but also a place where master monks lived, which has a profound cultural, religious and political influences. One scholar called Zhang Ju traveled to Big Wild Goose Pagoda and carved his name inscribe on it. Since then, many literary masters followed suit and treated it as a great honor. In addition, scholars often held some competition of poems and songs, which was a splendid page in the history of Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
The Structure of Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda with a history of more than 1,300 years becomes a unique signal of the ancient capital of Xi'an. In the early stage, there were only five floors with a height of 60 meters. During the period from 701AD to 704AD, Big Wild Goose Pagoda was rebuilt to be a seven-floor pavilion-style pagoda (64.517 meters in height and 25.5 meters in the bottom length).
Big Wild Goose Pagoda was shaped in the square pyramid which had a special style of Chinese traditional architectural arts. This pagoda was built of wood-like bricks and was consist of three parts, including the base, the pagoda body and the tower spire. There are spiral stairs inside and each floor has an arch door on all four sides. If you climb up the top of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, you can overlook a spectacular view of the whole Xi'an city.
Highlights of Big Wild Goose Pagoda
On both sides of the south gate on the base of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, there are two stone tablets about the preface of Xuanzang's translation works, which are the important relics for studying the calligraphy, painting and engraving of Tang dynasty. And you can take a close look at the exquisite line carving frescoes of Tang dynasty.
► The first floor: When you enter the south gate, you will see many inscriptions mounted on the wall. There is also a picture exhibition showing some common sense of the ancient pagoda and some photos of Chinese famous pagodas. You will have a better understanding of the origin, development, structure and classification of pagodas.
► The second floor: There is a bronze Sakyamuni Buddha statue which is treated as the treasure of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. Many visitors come there to worship it.
► The third floor: In the middle of the third floor, there is a wooden table with precious Buddha's relics and the model of Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
► The fourth floor: There are two palm-leaf scriptures (40cm in length and 7cm in width) with the dense Sanskrit. It's said that there are less than ten persons understanding such words.
► The fifth floor: The footprint tablet of Sakyamuni is displayed on this floor. There are many Buddhism patterns with very rich connotations on it.
► The sixth floor: In 752, five famous poets, including Du Fu, Censen, Gaoshi, Xueju and Chu Guangxu, climbed up Big Wild Goose Pagoda and overlooked the spectacular view of the whole city. They wrote five poems to describe this picturesque landscape. These masterpieces have been spreading for thousands of years.
► The seventh floor: Visitors can overlook the whole Xi'an city on the top of Big Wild Goose Pagoda.
Best time to visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda
The best time to visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda is all year around. The weather of Xi'an is dry, remember to drink more water during the trip.
You'd better visit in a good season with a comfortable climate.
The balmy spring season (from March to May);
The Cool and comfortable autumn season (from September to November).
How to Get to Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Public bus: You can take buses No. 5, 21, 23, 27, 30, 41, 224, 320, 401, 500, 501, 527, 601, 606, 609, 715.
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