The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda (The Great Temple of Benevolence and Kindness)
Address: Yanta Roda, Yanta District, Xi'an, Shaanxi Province
Tel: +86 29 85527958
General admission: 50 yuan (with an additional 30 yuan for entering the pagoda)
Bus no. 5,21,22,27,41: Yanta Xilu Dongkou Bus Stop
Subway Line 3: Dayanta Station
The Great Temple of Benevolence and Kindness (Da Ci'en si) bears imperial hallmarks. The most magnificent and prominent Buddhist temple, it was commissioned by Li Zhi, son of the Taizong Emperor (r. 627-649) and the future Gaozong Emperor (r. 650-689) of the Tang Dynasty to memorize his mother, the Emperess Wende. While legend has it that there were many murals in the Great Temple of Benevolence and Kindnessby Yan Liben, Wu Daozi, and other Tang Dynasty (618-907) master painters, the temple was the imperially designated scripture translating venue, and the largest one of the Tang empire, taking up nearly half the neighborhood. At its heyday it encompassed 13 courtyards accommodating 1,897 rooms. Lofty pavilions, Buddhist sculptures, and meditation abodes comprised a majestic view of ancient Chang'an. The remaining part of the temple is only an enclosure of the pagoda in the west of the original site. The current Great Temple of Benevolence and Kindness dates to 1466, as an expansion built up on the Tang pagoda enclosure.
The Giant Wild Goose Pagoda is esteemed as the symbol of ancient capital Xi'an. It was situated inside the Great Temple of Benevolence and Kindness as a construction project supervised by the Buddhist monk Xuanzang (602-664). It is believed to be the place where he delved into the translation of the immense volumes of Sanskrit Buddhist scriptures he brought from his ambitious journey to India to study the fountainhead of Buddhism. A bronze statue of him now stands in front of the temple square. The pagoda, as a heritage site along the Silk Road Chang'an-Mount Tianshan corridor, is inscribed in the UNESCO's World Heritage List.