Xian, China is one of the most incredible cities I’ve ever traveled to. Most people know it for the Terracotta Warriors, but one of the smaller sites that I really enjoyed traveling to was the Small Wild Goose Pagoda (Xiǎoyàn Tǎ) which is a few blocks south of the city wall and can be reached via bus. It’s in a very nice park and there’s several great restaurants on the northern side which I’ll write about in a future entry. What I liked about it was that it’s nowhere near as crowded as the Big Pagoda and this small Pagoda isn’t that small, being ten floors high. By the time we got here, we were so exhausted, we couldn’t even think about going to the top. Still, it was beautiful to see and there’s a lot of history oozing from the place. There’s even a Cultural Revolution Museum/Store with various goods on sale. Here’s a map of the park:
Two traveler tips: 1). You’ll need your passport to buy a ticket. 2). Not only will you need a ticket to get inside the park, you’ll need a separate ticket to climb up the ten floors of the Pagoda. However, sometimes, the ticket booth next to the pagoda will sell out and they will tell you to go the entrance to buy the ticket. If you are interested in climbing the Pagoda, make sure to buy it at the front entrance.
As for the historical record, this is wiki entry describes its background:
“During the Tang Dynasty, the Small Wild Goose Pagoda stood across a street from its mother temple, the Dajianfu Temple. Pilgrims brought sacred Buddhist writings to the temple and pagoda from India, as the temple was one of the main centers in Chang’an for translating Buddhist texts. The temple was older than the pagoda, since it was founded in 684, exactly 100 days after the death of Emperor Gaozong of Tang (r. 649–683).Emperor Zhongzong had donated his residence to the building of a new temple here, maintaining the temple for 200 monks in honor of his deceased father Gaozong. The temple was originally called the Daxianfusi or Great Monastery of Offered Blessings by Zhongzong, until it was renamed Dajianfusi by Empress Wu Zetian in 690.”
If you’re in Xian, China, I’d say this place is worth visiting, but only if you’ve seen the wild night show of the Big Pagoda first. The best way to arrange is to visit the southern part of the old city wall and then take the bus south to Small Pagoda which is only 2-3 exits away.