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
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!
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda Facts
- Construction of the original Wild Goose Pagoda was completed in 652 AD
- The original structure was built during the reign of the Tang Dynasty Emperor Gaozong
- Originally constructed of rammed earth and a stone exterior facade, it stood 53 meters in height and had 5 stories
- Unfortunately, the original Giant Wild Goose Pagoda collapsed after 5 decades
- Subsequently, in 704 AD the pagoda was rebuilt with 5 additional stories for a total of 12 stories!
- This structure lasted over 8 centuries but was reduced by 3 stories due to an earthquake in 1556 AD
- Therefore, the structure remains at 7 stories to this day and has a perceptible lean to the west.
- 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.
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!
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!
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.
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.
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.
In addition, there was a Chinese opera being performed in an outdoor theater at the Tang Palace when I visited.