Jianfu Temple in Xian

Why is Jianfu Temple So Special?

  1. Jianfu Temple (simplified Chinese: 荐福寺) is a Chinese Buddhist temple located at West Youyi Rd. outside the south gate of Xi’an, Shaanxi Province, China. It hosts the famous Small Wild Goose Pagoda.
  2. The temple complex was reconstructed in the Ming and Qing dynasty style and stands witness to the 1,000-year development of Xi’an City.
  3. Jianfu Temple, or Felicity Temple, and the pagoda are rare cultural relics from the Tang Dynasty, regarded as the Golden Age in Chinese history with its capital Chang’an as the most majestic city in the world at that time, according to a placard at the temple. 

Where is The Jianfu Temple?

Located in the northwest corner of Xi’an Museum on West Youyi Road in south Xi’an, Jianfu Temple is a famous Buddhist temple with a long history. Symbolic of the temple is the Small Wild Goose Pagoda which was listed as a world cultural heritage site by UNESCO in 2014.

History of Jianfu Temple

Originally, this temple was the residence of Emperor Zhonzong (656-710) before he became Emperor, the fourth of the Tang Dynasty. A funny emperor: he succeeded his father in 684, but his mother deposed him two months later and appointed another son emperor, but she deposed him 6 years later, in 690. She then reigned herself until 698 And was forced to recall his first son in power, who reigned for 5 years, from 705 until his death in 710. In 1684, Zhonzong’s residence became a Buddhist temple; In 710, the small pagoda of the Wild Goose was built and added to the temple.

The temple experienced difficult times because of the temporary suppression of Buddhism and wars; He became prosperous only under the Ming. One enters the present temple by a large entrance door with beautiful decorations at its upper part and preceded by two lions; Then the Mahavira Hall, the Cishi Pavilion, and the room where the sutras are kept. In 710, the temple became a place of translation of Indian sutras by a translator as reputed as Zhiangzan: Yi Jing. The Jianfu Temple Set, a small wild goose pagoda is located in a pleasant wooded park that also contains the beautiful museum of the history of the Shaanxi region.

Major Buildings of Jianfu Temple

The Jianfu Temple mainly consists of the gate, the Cishi Pavilion, the Mahavira Hall, the Depository of Buddhist Sutras and the Small Wild Goose Pagoda.


Built in the late Qing Dynasty (1644-1911), the gate has a length of 2.9 meters (9.5 feet) and a width of 2.55 meters (8.4 feet). It has a single eave embellished by blue glazed tiles. Moreover, it is decorated by beautiful brick carvings under the eave. On the south of the gate hangs a plaque inscribed with “Imperial Jianfu Temple” while on the north is a plaque engraved with “the True Way”.

Cishi Pavilion

The Cishi Pavilion was first constructed in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). It is a double-eave terrace, 16.4 meters (53.8 feet) in length and 8.2 meters (26.9 feet) in width. Between the two eaves hangs a wooden board with the inscription “Imperial Jianfu Temple”. There are brick stairs on the two sides.

Mahavira Hall

Built in the Qing Dynasty, the Mahavira Hall has a single eave. It has five rooms in the front. It measures 21.2 meters (69.6 feet) in length and 13.3 meters (43.6 feet) in width. The supporting pillars are 3.8 meters (12.5 feet) high, with a diameter of 0.23 meter (0.75 foot).

Depository of Buddhist Sutras

The Depository of Buddhist Sutras is a two-floor double-eave building, with five bays in length and three bays in width.

Small Wild Goose Pagoda

The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is an example of Buddhist architecture built during the heyday of the Silk Road as a witness to the history of Buddhism’s introduction to China by India. It was popular in Chang’an, the capital of the Tang Dynasty. The Small Wild Goose Pagoda is a multi-eave Buddhist pagoda surviving from the Tang Dynasty (618-907). It measures 43.4 meters (142.4 feet) in height. Because both the height and side length of each storey decrease progressively, the pagoda looks like a rectangular pyramid. Inside the pagoda, a narrow stairway winds to the top.

Morning Bell of the Small Wild Goose Pagoda

In the Bell Tower of the temple hangs a giant iron bell. Built in the third year (1192) of the reign of Emperor Zhangzong in the Jin Dynasty, the bell weighs 10 tons, with a height of 3.5 meters (11.5 feet) and a diameter of 2.5 meters (8.2 feet). It belonged to the Shangge Temple in Wugong County, Shaanxi Province. Later, the Shangge Temple was destroyed in a terrible flood and the bell sank into the bottom of the Weihe River.

One day during the reign of Emperor Kangxi (1662-1723) in the Qing Dynasty, a woman heard the bang of metal when she was washing clothes by the Weihe River. Immediately she reported it to the local government. After excavation, the bell which was lost for more than four hundred years was discovered again and it was given to the Jianfu Temple.

In the Qing Dynasty, monks in the temple clanged the bell every morning to pray for happiness and to express their good feelings. In 1998, a copy of the bell was made. Tourists can toll it on the steel frame in the open. The original bell is displayed in the Bell Tower.

How to get to Jianfu 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 Jianfu 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.

Independent Traveler

  • By Bus:
    1. Take bus No. 18, 21, 29, 32, 40, 46, 203, 204, 218, 224, 229, 258, 407, 410, 508, 521, 618, 700, 707, 713, Tourist Line 7 or Tourist Line 8 (610), get off at Xiaoyanta (Small Wild Goose Pagoda) Station and get to the temple through North Gate.
    2. Take bus No. 18, 203, 204, 218, 229, 258, 407, 410, 713 or Tourist Line 7 and get off at the Xiajiazhuang Station. Walk north for around 4 minutes and get to the temple through West Gate near the Xi’an Museum.
  • By Metro:
    Take Metro Line 2, get off at Nanshaomen Station, and leave from Exit A1 or A2. Walk west for about 6 minutes and get to Jianfu Temple through North Gate.

Useful Travel Tips

  1. Best Time to Visit: All year round. As summer is hot in Xian, visiting in morning and after sunset is better choice.
  2. Ticket Price
    The temple: Free of charge on ordinary days; CNY 20 to 25 during the temple fair from 1st to 15th of the first lunar month.
    Ascending the Small Wild Goose Pagoda: CNY 30
  3. Opening Hours
    March 15-October 31: 09:00-18:00 (Ticket selling stops at 17:00)
    November 1-March 14: 09:00-17:30 (Ticket selling stops at 16:30)
    Close: Every Tuesday (except Chinese national holidays)
    * During the temple fair, the temple allows entry until 21:00 and is emptied at 22:00, while the Small Wild Goose Pagoda closes at 16:30 as usual.
  4. Traditional Temple Fair
    The temple fair is usually held from the 1st to the 15th of the first lunar month. People often go to the temple fair to pray for happiness during the Chinese New Year (Spring Festival). At the same time, there are large-scale lantern shows, delicate food, and all kinds of wonderful performances, including the lion dance, the Shaanxi opera, and stilt walking.

Nearby Attractions

Edited by Bella Ren/任新月