Da Ci’en Temple in Xian
Da Ci'en Temple Facts
Located at South Yanta Road in Xi'an, 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the city center, Da Ci’en (mercy and kindness) Temple is one of renowned Buddhist temples in China, where the landmark of Xi'an, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda, is situated. In 648, the emperor Li Zhi ordered to build the temple to commemorate his dead mother. Four years later, the hierarch Xuanzang dwelled here to take charge of the temple’s business.
Chinese Name: 大慈恩寺
Type: Culture & Temples; Buddhism
Address: Yanta District of Xi'an, Shaanxi
Best Seasons: All year round
Recommended Visiting Time: about 2 hours
Opening Hours: 09:00-17:00
Ticket: 40 CNY
Why is Da Ci’en Temple So Special？
- Da Ci’en Temple is the home of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda. Today, with an area of 50,738 square meters (12.5 acres), one seventh of the original area, it still retains its grandeur.
- In Da Ci’en Temple stands the Great Wild Goose Pagoda, which is one of the most famous and important Buddhist pagodas in China.
- The pagoda was originally built by an accomplished monk Xuanzang, whose story was widespread in civil socity in many dynasties and the famous legendary story Journey to the West was inspired by his experience.
Introduction of Da Ci’en Temple
Located at South Yanta Road in Xi’an, 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the city center, Da Ci’en (mercy and kindness) Temple is one of renowned Buddhist temples in China, where the landmark of Xian, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, is situated. In 648, the emperor Li Zhi ordered to build the temple to commemorate his dead mother. Four years later, the hierarch Xuanzang dwelled here to take charge of the temple’s business. Under Xuanzang’s supervision, the pagoda was constructed to keep the Buddhist statues, scriptures, classics and Buddhist relics (Sariras) he brought from India. Da Ci’en Temple also became a famous site for Buddhist sutra translation and the birthplace of the Faxiang (Dharma Characteristics) School. Da Ci’en Temple is the home of Giant Wild Goose Pagoda.
History of Da Ci’en Temple
In 648, to commemorate the dead virtuous queen Ci’en (Literally meaning Mercy and Kindness), the royalty gave an order to build a temple. Originally built in 652 AD by Emperor Li Zhi (Emperor Gaozong) of the Tang Dynasty (618-907) it contained five stories built of earth with a stone façade and stood 60 meters high. Its function was to hold the Buddhist materials that were taken from India by the hierarch Xuan Zang. Here is where Xuan Zang and other hierarchs studied and translated 1,335 volumes of Indian Sanskrit into Chinese which was a major point in history of Chinese translation.
Along the central axis are arranged the Hall of Mahavira, Sermon Hall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang. In the Hall of Mahavira are three carved statues of Sakyamuni, and 18 arhats as well as Xuanzang. The Sermon Hall is where Buddhist disciples would listen to a sermon.
A bronze statue of Amitabha is dedicated and a Buddha statue is collected by Xuanzang as oblation. The Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang is north of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. In this hall are Xuanzang’s relic and a bronze statue of a seated Xuanzang. The inner wall is chiseled with murals depicting this hierarch’s story.
Best Time to Go to Da Ci’en Temple
All year round. The peak season of traveling to Xi’an is in the spring and autumn. In summer the temperature is high with strong ultraviolet ray. It is easy to cause heat stroke under the blazing sun for quite a long time in outdoor, and sometimes it will rain, so tourists should watch the weather forecast in advance before visiting. What’s more, tourists need to put on sunscreen and try to avoid ultraviolet rays during the day time travel; Winter temperature is low, the wind is piercingly cold, only suitable for indoor attractions visiting.
Main Attractions of Da Ci’en Temple
Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (大雁塔)
Getting out of Sermon Hall, visitors can see the majestic Big Wild Goose Pagoda. The seven-storied pagoda is 64.5 meters (211 feet) high, where the Buddhist relics brought from India are worshiped. Reaching at the top, visitors can have a bird view of entire Xi’an. As the symbol of the old-line Xi’an, Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (also called Big Wild Goose Pagoda) is a well-preserved ancient building and a holy place for Buddhists.
Xuanzang Sanzang Hall
In Xuanzang Sanzang Hall enshrine the Buddhist relics of Xuanzang’s parietal bone and his bronze sitting statue. Large delicate frescoes record the big events of his lifetime. Bronze inscriptions, wood and stone carvings are displayed in the hall. It is the largest memorial of Xuanzang in the current era. In addition, there is a basement in the northwest corner of the hall, where stores the original palm leaf manuscript brought from India by Xuanzang.
The Mahavira Hall enshrining statues of Vairocana, Mahavairocana and Sakyamuni. The two disciples’ statues are placed in front of the statue of Sakyamuni, the older is called Kassapa Buddha and the middle-aged is called Ananda. The statues of Eighteen Arhats sitting on the seats before both sides of the gable walls.
The temple has a history of almost 1400 years, has nine pagodas, which enshrine the Buddhist relics of successive abbots of Daci’en Temple. Their names and birthdates are carved in their pagoda.
How to get to Da Ci’en Temple
Travel with ChinaDragonTours (top recommended)
If you want to get out of the traffic and hassle of navigation, you can book a private tour package that includes visiting, dining and transfer from us. Our local guide and driver will escort you to the Da Ci’en Temple in Xi’an in the fastest and most convenient way and take care of all the details. You just have to focus on the visiting.
- By Bus
Take Bus No. 5, 19, 21, 22, 23, 24, 27, 30, 34, 41, 44, 242, 271, 400, 401, 408, 500, 500 (branch), 501, 521, 527, 601, 606, 609, 701, 920 (to Jiaodai), 920 (to Tangyu), Qujiang Tourist Round Line, Tourist Line 6 or Tourist Line 8 (No. 610) and get off at Dayanta Nanguangchang (Giant Wild Goose Pagoda South Square) Station.
- By Metro
Take Metro Line 3 or Line 4 to Dayanta (Giant Wild Goose Pagoda) Station. Then walk towards south for around 1 km (0.6 mi) to arrive.
Xi’an Bus / Metro Search
- By Taxi:
It takes 20 minutes and costs CNY 20 from the Bell Tower.
It takes 40 minutes and costs CNY 30 from the Xi’an Railway Station.
Useful Travel Tips
- Admission fee
Adult: CNY 40
Kids under 1.2 m (3.9 ft): Free Kids between 1.2-1.5 m (3.9-4.9 ft): CNY 20
Extra Fare for climbing the Giant Wild Goose Pagoda: CNY 25
- The large North Square around the Great Wild Goose Pagoda is a nice area to stroll or rest. It holds many records for large scale design among its pathways, fountains, water features, cultural square and gardens.
Musical Fountain on the North Square:
Admission Fee Free Timetable Jun. 10 – Oct. 5 Mon., Wed. – Fri.: 12:00, 21:00 Tue.:21:00 Feb. – Jun. 9; Oct. 6 – Oct. 31 Mon., Wed. – Fri.: 12:00, 20:30 Tue.:20:30 Note:
1. Extra performances in weekends and holidays are at 14:00, 16:00 and 18:00;
2. No show from Nov. to Jan., expect the Chinese New Year Holiday.
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