Article by XIANEASE
The most famous sites related to Buddhism in the area are obviously the Wild Goose Pagodas, both Big and Small, but active temples are dotted across the city. If you’re interested in checking out Xi’an’s spiritual side, here are four you can visit.
DACI’EN TEMPLE 大慈恩寺
Daci’en temple was built in 648, commissioned by Emperor Gaozong of the Tang Dynasty in memory of his mother, Empress Zhangsun. Xuanzang, the famous monk from the Journey to the West, was placed in charge of it when it was completed, and it was during this tenure that he oversaw construction of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda. It has operated continuously since that time, and in the past few decades it has been showered with distinctions and accolades, first designated in the first group of Major Historical and Cultural Sites in Shaanxi in 1961, then as a AAAA-level tourist site by the China National Tourism Administration in 2001, before finally being added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage List in 2014 (along with the Big Wild Goose Pagoda).
Address: Ci’en Road No.1, Yanta.
Open Hour: 9:00am-5:00pm
DAXINGSHAN TEMPLE 大兴善寺
With a history spanning back more than 1700 years, Daxing Shan is one of the oldest temples in the city. Its heyday was during the Tang Dynasty, and is now considered to be the cradle of Chinese Esoteric Buddhism. However, this important site was nearly lost to history after the Tang Dynasty—ravaged by war and natural disasters, it faded into obscurity until it was rediscovered during the Ming Dynasty and eventually rebuilt. It’s now a popular destination for tourists and pilgrims alike, notably including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who stopped by with Xi Jinping during a state visit.
Address: No.55, Shansi West Street, Xiaozhaixing.
Price: Free Open Hour: 8:00am-5:00pm
Qinglong Temple has a similar story to Daxingshan Temple, in that it was nearly destroyed and lost forever in 1086 during the Northern Song Dynasty. It was renovated fairly recently (in the 1980s) with eye-catching Tang Dynasty architecture. This 1500-year-old temple, located just northeast of the Big Wild Goose Pagoda, has strong ties with Japanese Shingon Buddhism, which explains the multitude of cherry blossom trees that are spectacular to behold when they bloom in the spring.
Address: NO.1 Tielumiaocun, Xiying Road.
Price: Free Open Hour: 9:00am-5:00pm
Established in 1705 during the Qing Dynasty, Guangren Temple was constructed to provide accommodations to Tibetan Buddhist leaders and a place to practice their faith. It’s the only Tibetan Buddhist temple around—you’ve probably seen its striking golden roofs from atop the city wall. It’s had a tumultuous history during the 20th Century and was damaged in the 1930s, but it has been protected under the auspices of the State Council of China since a renovation in the 1950s.
Address: NO. 125 of Xibeiyi Road.
Price: 20RMB Open Hour: 8:00am-6:00pm
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