Visit the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an, China

In Xi’an, China the best thing to do is visit the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. However, the historical pagoda is only one part of a large complex of attractions and activities. As a result, visitors can enjoy the entire day visiting the pagoda, surrounding temples and the also beautiful water fountain show.

Nostalgic Value of Chinese Pagodas

Indeed, the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is dedicated to the introduction of Buddhism in China. However, pagoda style architecture has a significant presence throughout Chinese history. Therefore, Chinese pagodas are not necessarily always dedicated to religion.

Indeed, there are many Chinese poems throughout history that honor the landscape views which are revealed as one climbs to the top of a pagoda. As a result, the city views of Xi’an from the top levels of the Great Wild Goose Pagoda are spectacular. In addition, there is a very interesting Buddhist anecdote that is behind the featured pagoda.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

Photo of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Xian China
Sunset photo taken from the base of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xian.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Symbolism

In ancient times, there was a community of Buddhist monks that lived at the location where the pagoda would one day be constructed. However, the monk community had fallen on hard times and food was hard to find. As a result, some of the monks began to question their Buddhist faith.

The leader of the monks prayed to the Bodhisattva for a miracle. During his prayer, a flock of wild geese flew over the monks’ community. As if struck by lightening, the leader of the flock of geese fell to the earth with 2 broken wings. As a result, the monks realized that they should not question their beliefs, no matter how hungry they became. Therefore, the Great Wild Goose Pagoda symbolism is based on the story of their faith.

To commemorate the miracle sent by the Bodhisattva, the pagoda is constructed on the exact location where the goose originally fell from the sky. Indeed, the story of the wild goose miracle has survived millennia because of its potency!

Photo Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Xi'an, China
The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda in Xi’an China is constructed on the spot that the wild goose was struck down from the sky.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Facts

  1. Construction of the original Wild Goose Pagoda was completed in 652 AD
  2. The original structure was built during the reign of the Tang Dynasty Emperor Gaozong
  3. Originally constructed of rammed earth and a stone exterior facade, it stood 53 meters in height and had 5 stories
  4. Unfortunately, the original Giant Wild Goose Pagoda collapsed after 5 decades
  5. Subsequently, in 704 AD the pagoda was rebuilt with 5 additional stories for a total of 12 stories!
  6. This structure lasted over 8 centuries but was reduced by 3 stories due to an earthquake in 1556 AD
  7. Therefore, the structure remains at 7 stories to this day and has a perceptible lean to the west.
  8. The current Giant Wild Goose Pagoda stands at 64 meters tall

Enjoy the Water Fountain Show

The water fountain show located next to the wild goose pagoda is a spectacular attraction. As a result, the pagoda is the main attraction in a big park with an amazing atmosphere. Indeed, the water fountain show is beautifully choreographed to music. Additionally, the fountains are spread out over a giant rectangular square.

Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Fountain Show
It is possible for visitors to walk through the fountain pathways during the show.

The fountains are crossed laterally by walkways which the visitors can access. Therefore, the audience can interact with the fountains during the show. As a result, the more intrepid visitor will appreciate the photographic opportunity!

Fountain show
Visitors can walk between the rows of fountains to take photographs.
Big Wild Goose Pagoda Fountain Show
Be careful when entering and exiting the fountain show, it is possible to get very wet!
Photo Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Fountain Show
Big Wild Goose Pagoda Fountain Show

Inside the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda

From the top levels of the pagoda there is a spectacular view of the surrounding urban landscape. However, there are also hidden treasures inside the pagoda. This is one of the best kept secrets about the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.

Indeed, the pagoda also serves as a secure depository for many ancient Buddhist sutras and figurines. These Buddhist treasures were brought back from India by the Buddhist monk, Xuangzang who was a prolific traveler and translator. In fact, his translations of the Buddha’s teachings are largely responsible for the proliferation of Buddhism in ancient China.

Unfortunately, many of the Buddhist relics are off limits to visitors. However, it is still possible to enter the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda and climb the stairs to the top. As a result, visitors will enjoy the views of the Xian city grid laid out below!

Xi'an China Urban landscape
There is a great view of the city grid of Xi’an China from the top of the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.

The Daci’en Temple grounds are where the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda sits. Therefore, from the pagoda we can view the temple grounds below and also see the Big Wild Goose Pagoda Fountain Show in the distance. 

Daci'en Temple Grounds and water fountains

Additional Attractions in Xi’an, China

In the ancient city of Xi’an there are many historical sites to visit. Additionally, visitors should also visit the Bell Tower of Xi’an. The Bell Tower of Xi’an, China is located behind the Great Wall of Xi’an City in the old city center.

It was constructed in the 17th century and the “Bell Tower of Xi’an” had a giant bell inside to report the time of day to the surrounding city inhabitants.

Photo Bell Tower of Xian China
The Bell Tower of Xi’an is 36 meters in height and covers an area of 1370 meters square.
Bell Tower of Xian China
Although the bell is no longer used, it is still kept there on display for visitors to see.

Another one of the Xi’an best things to do is to visit the Tang Palace. Hopefully, the renovations have been completed since the last time I visited.

Photo Tang Palace in Xi'an China
Visiting the Tang Palace is one of the Xi’an best things to do.

In addition, there was a Chinese opera being performed in an outdoor theater at the Tang Palace when I visited.

Photo Chinese Opera outdoor theater Xi'an China
Photo Chinese Opera performance at the Tang Palace in Xi’an China

Additional Resources:

  • https://www.travelchinaguide.com/attraction/shaanxi/xian/bigwildgoose.htm
  • https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Giant_Wild_Goose_Pagoda