Brief information on Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Ta)
The Big Wild Goose Pagoda is one of the most famous Buddhist pagodas in China. It is situated in Da Ci’en Temple (the Temple of Thanksgiving), which lies in a southern suburb of Xian, about 4 kilometers from the city center.
Da Ci’en Temple was originally built in 589 AD. It was not until the Zhenguan period of the Tang Dynasty, in 648 AD, that Li Zhi (the third emperor of Tang Dynasty) ordered the reparation of the temple in memory of his mother Empress Wende. The temple was later renamed Da Ci’en Si. The Tang Regime appointed the widely renowned Master Xuan Zang as the head of the temple. The temple was destroyed by war during the downfall of the Tang Dynasty and the halls and rooms we see today were actually built in Ming Dynasty.
In 652 AD, Master Xuan Zang proposed to the court that a pagoda should be built inside the temple to store scriptures and statues he had brought back from India. The Emperor agreed with him, and Master Xuan Zang created the designs himself. He stayed in Ci’en Temple for 12 years, and translated 75 sets of Buddhist scripture, in total 1,335 volumes. ”Pilgrims to the West”, one of the China’s most popular novels, tells the adventures of Master Xuan Zang and his three disciples.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda is 64 meters high, a brick and wood structure. In the Ming Dynasty (1386~1644 AD), a huge 8.0 earthquake struck in Huaxian County, Shaanxi Province. The earthquake killed over 830,000 people and reached 90 counties in 5 provinces, with more than ninety percent of buildings in these areas destroyed. Big Wild Goose Pagoda survived with only moderate damage to the top and still stands today as a potent symbol of Xian.
Tradition in the Tang Dynasty (618 ~ 907AD) held that a candidate who passed the imperial examinations would have to climb up Big Wild Goose Pagoda and write poems and inscriptions on the top. This symbolized their soaring career in the future, and the fashion extended well into Ming Dynasty. These poems and inscriptions are today a fine mirror into the city’s past.
*You can download the bilingual note to show it to a taxi driver or someone else to find your way to Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Ta) if you plan to visit Big Wild Goose Pagoda (Dayan Ta) and have language problems.
Chinese Pinyin: Da Yan Ta
Opening Times: 08:00-19:00
TIcket Price: CNY 25 (extra CNY 20 for climbing)
How to Get to: take bus No. 19, 21, 22, 23, 27, 30, 34, 224, 400, 408, 609 or 610
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