Big Goose Pagoda

The Big Goose Pagoda stands in the grounds of Da Ci’En (Great Maternal Grace) Temple. The Temple was commissioned by Tang Dynasty Emperor Gaozong in 648, to honor his late mother. A truly massive temple, even the small part of the Big Goose Pagodaoriginal version that remains today is vast. Size aside, Da Ci’En Temple follows the standard Buddhist temple conventions with drum and bell towers to the sides and halls arranged on a north-south axis.

What distinguishes the temple is the Big Goose Pagoda. It was built in 652 according to the wishes of the revered monk Xuan Zang (600-664) in order to house the Buddhist scriptures, statues and relics he had brought back from India. It was at the temple that Xuan Zang then oversaw the task of translating the scriptures into Chinese, creating 1335 volumes. A statue of the eminent monk stands in the square to the south of the temple, while the hall north of the Pagoda is dedicated to him. The Big Goose Pagoda itself was originally five storeys high, but was later extended to seven storeys and a height of 64.5 meters. Climbing the Pagoda grants some great views of the surrounding area, while the interior is decorated with Buddha engravings.

It’s worth exploring the surrounds of the temple as well, especially to the north where there is a new tourist attraction: A 110000 square meter square which holds the claim to being the biggest fountain square in Asia. Along with gardens and sculptures, the square is filled with fountains which perform in time with music each day. Shows are on at 8:30pm every day, 12pm every day except Tuesday, and additionally at 2pm, 4pm and 6pm on weekends.

Admission: ¥25 (another ¥30 to climb the pagoda). Open: 8:00-18:00.

Website: www.xiandayanta.com/english/egindex.htm

Directions: Located a good way south of the City Walls, it’s easiest to reach the Big Goose Pagoda by taxi. Alternatively, you can take Bus #610 from the train station or Bus #701 from the South Gate to get there. The Shaanxi History Museum is a 5-10 minute walk west of the North Square so it’s a good idea to visit both places while in the area.

Show the taxi driver: 请带我去大雁塔, 谢谢。 (Please take me to the Big Goose Pagoda. Thank you.)