Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Big Wild Goose Pagoda, aka Dayan Pagoda or Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, is situated in Da Ci’en Temple in the southern suburbs of Xi’an. It is one of the landmarks in Xi’an as well as the oldest and largest square brick tower in the Tang Dynasty (618-907 AD). Xuanzang, an eminent monk of the Tang Dynasty, once translated the Buddhist scriptures that he brought back to China from India here. It has a history of more than 1350 years.

Xian Big Wild Goose Pagoda
Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Quick Facts about Big Wild Goose Pagoda

  • Type: Historical site, Buddhist site, world cultural heritage
  • Period: Tang Dynasty
  • Opening Hours: Peak Season: 08:00-17:30; Low Season: 08:00-17:00
  • Tickets: RMB 50; extra RMB 30 for entering the pagoda
  • Time Needed: 2-3 hours
  • Best Seasons: All seasons
  • Highlights: the ancient pagoda, music fountains
  • Recommended for: culture lovers, Buddhists
  • Location: Yanta Road, Da Ci’en Temple, Yanta District, Xi’an, Shaanxi Province

What to See in and around the Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Da Cien Temple

Da Ci’en Temple is one of the most famous Buddhist temples in Xi’an. It was the imperial temple in Tang Dynasty. Getting into the temple, there are bell tower and the drum tower facing each other in the yard. A cluster of tomb towers lie on the southeast side of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the pagoda is the best-known and most attractive in the temple. The main hall is the central building of the temple where the statues of Three-Bodies of the Buddha, Bodhisattvas and Arhats are enshrined. The scale of Da Ci’en Temple we see today was inherited from the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644), and most buildings inside the temple were constructed in Qing Dynasty (1644-1911).

Valuable Sarira

In the third story of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the precious Buddha Sarira and the model of Big Wild Goose Pagoda are placed on a wooden seat. The Sarira was a gift that an Indian Buddhist abbot send to Xuanzang. It is a rare Buddhist treasure that Xuanzang brought back from India and was preserved in the pagoda since it was completed.

Palm-Leaf Scriptures

There are two pieces of palm-leaf scriptures have been preserved on the fourth story of Dayan Pagoda. Each piece is about 40 centimeters (15.8 inches) long and 7 centimeters (2.8 inches) wide. They have been enshrined with dense Sanskrit scripts on. It is said that there are no more than 10 scholars know the Sanskrit in the world, thus they are precious and mysterious.

Footprints of Sakyamuni Buddha

When you climb up to the fifth floor of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, you would see the footprints of Sakyamuni Buddha on display. The footprints were carved at the requirement of master Xuanzang in his later years, with many Buddhist patterns. Although the original ones were damaged, and the existing ones are the copies, a number of Buddhists come to worship them. There is a saying that, seeing the footprints is like seeing the Buddha, and worshiping the footprints is like worshiping the Buddha.

Large Music Fountain

On the North Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, the scenic waterway is in the center. It is the largest fountain square in China and even in Asia. 8 large fountain pools with the size of basketball court lie here, having a higher place from north to south gradually. The fountain in each pool is different, and they can also make up a large fountain matrix together. The music fountain show is on every day at 12:00, 16:00, 19:00 and 21:00 respectively.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda Music Fountain
The largest fountain square in China

History of Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Undergoing untold hardships, Master Xuanzang traveled to India along Silk Road in the early Tang Dynasty. Finally, he arrived in ancient India – the birthplace of Buddhism, passing 138 countries and states on the long journey. 19 years after he left home, he returned to Chang’an (Xi’an today) with a mass of Buddhist scriptures. He took another 19 years to translate the Buddhist scriptures, including 1,335 volumes and 13 million words in total.

In 652 AD, Xuanzang proposed to build a five-story brick tower in the Da Ci’en Temple, to store the palm-leaf Sanskrit scriptures, Sarira, Buddha statues, and so on he brought back. The emperor approved and the Big Wild Goose Pagoda was constructed. At that time, it had five stories. A few years later, it was heightened to be with nine stories. When Empress Wu Zetian took the throne, the pagoda was repaired. After the Tang Dynasty perished, the pagoda was repaired and left in seven stories. As it was damaged for earthquakes later, Big Wild Goose Pagoda was repaired and reinforced in the Ming Dynasty, which is rightly what you see nowadays.

How to get to Big Wild Goose Pagoda?

Take Xi’an metro Line 3 or Line 4 to Dayanta Station, and get out the station from Exit B or Exit C. Walk south for a few minutes to reach the south square with the standing statue of Master Xuanzang, where is just the entrance of Da Ci’en Temple and Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

Take the city bus 21, 22, 23, 24, 41, 44, 189, 242, 271, 408, 500, 601, 606, 609, 920, Tourist Bus Line 6, or Tourist Bus Line 8/610 to get off at the stop of South Square of Big Wild Goose Pagoda.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda Visiting Tips

  • The specific date of the peak and low seasons would change. However, the peak season is from mid-March to mid-November generally, while the mid-November to mid-March next year is the low season.
  • The ticket price is RMB 50 per person, with which you can enter the Da Ci’en Temple and look the Big Wild Goose Pagoda from If you want to get into the pagoda to see the treasures and have a bird’s eye view on the top, you need to pay another RMB 30.
  • In the surroundings of Da Ci’en Temple, there are squares and gardens for tourists to rest and relax. On the South Square in front of the temple entrance, the standing statue of MasterXuanzang is the most eye-catching. On the west side, the long flag-paved boulevard houses a series of vivid sculptures to show the customs and folk arts of Shaanxi. On the east side, the sculptures show the local Qin Opera. The most fascinating is the music fountain on the vast North Square.
  • The time of the music fountain show may be subject to change. If you go to watch it in the evening or at night, please arrive there in advance. Otherwise, you may watch from a distance only because can squeeze into the crowd.

Nearby Attractions:

  • Great Tang All Day Mall: On the south side of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Great Tang All Day Mall is a distinctive cultural pedestrian zone. At night, there are street performances to show the Tang culture as well as many interestingthings to have fun.
  • Tang Paradise: On the southeast side of Dayan Pagoda, it is first large-scale cultural theme parkin the style of Tang imperial garden, with many antique buildings and performances.
  • Shaanxi History Museum: It’s on the northwest side of Big Wild Goose Pagoda, with millions of relics like bronzes, gold wares, murals, etc. on display to show the historyof Shaanxi Province.

Tours including Big Wild Goose Pagoda:

Xian Essence Day Tour

3 Days Best of Xian Package Tour

2 Days Beijing Xian Tour by Flight

2 Days Shanghai Xian Tour by Train + Flight

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