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Big Wild Goose Pagoda

Located in the south of Xian, the Xian Big Wild Goose Pagoda stands in what was formerly the Temple of Great Maternal Grace (Da Ci'ensi). The temple was built around about 648 AD by the Emperor Gao Zong (the third emperor of the Tang Dynasty) when he was still Crown Prince, in memory of his deceased mother. The buildings that stand today only date from the Qing Dynasty, which were built in the architectural style of the Ming Dynasty.

The original pagoda was built in 652 AD and only had five stories, when rebuilt in 704 AD it was added to ten stories, but only remained seven stories (current height) when it was restored during 907 - 979 AD. The Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Greater Wild Goose Pagoda; Dayan Ta, Da Yan Pagoda or Giant Wild Goose Pagoda) was built to house the Buddhist scriptures brought back from India by the travelling monk Xuan Zang, who then set about translating them into 1335 Chinese volumes.

Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian Tours

Big Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian ToursBig Wild Goose Pagoda, Xian Tours

There are two stone steles by a famous Tang Dynasty calligrapher on the first story, which record the story of Xuan Zang. Many beautiful Tang paintings and carvings are also found in the pagoda. It's an impressive, fortress-like wood and brick building which rises 64 meters up out of the surrounding wheat fields. You can climb to the top by the spiral stairway inside for a view of the surrounding countryside and the city.

According to the scientists an underground palace was built under the pagoda, where many peerless treasures are housed include the Buddha's relics, gold and silver josses, hundreds of Sanskrit canons of Scripture and many priceless relics. But the government forbids the excavation.

The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is at the end of Yanta Lu at the southern edge of Xian. To get there, you can take bus No.5, No.41, No.601, or No.27 down Jiefang Lu to the end of Yanta Lu and get off when the bus turns right into Xiaozhai Donglu. The entrance to the compound is on the southern side of the pagoda.

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