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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for Xi’an’s hidden temples and pagodas – marvels of bygone times
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Joanna James Joanna James
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Xi’an’s hidden temples and pagodas – marvels of bygone times

Having served as the capital of imperial China through the rise and fall of many dynasties, Xi’an is a treasure trove of wonder and allure. Take your pick from these appealing temples. Here is the curated list below! 

1

Guangren Temple

Smeared in vibrant hues and shades across its entirety is the Tibetan Buddhist shrine of Guangren Temple. Once here, take time to absorb every minute facet of Guangren Temple, beginning from its doors and roofs to the numerous walls that make up the shrine’s halls. In terms of its chief highlights, look forward to discovering a 7-meter-tall golden statuette of the Buddha which is housed within a hall coupled with a hall covered in gleaming gold that is dedicated to the God of Wealth. For an elaborate take on statue carving that will have you in awe over the sense of magnificence that radiates from within, consider heading for the Hall of the Four Heavenly Kings.

2

Big Goose Pagoda

Also referred to as the ‘Dayan Pagoda,’ the Big Goose Pagoda is a site synonymous with Xi’an’s cultural presence. What’s more? What makes the Big Goose Pagoda one of the region’s most recognizable landmarks boils down to its construction which is a far cry from what you would generally associate with temples and pagodas in China. The former is square-shaped as opposed to the round ones you will stumble upon when touring through the country. The expansive grounds are perfect to go on long walks where you are destined to witness prayer services being conducted and monks engaged in their daily devotions. In turn, the temple’s side halls cannot be missed out on for they contain priceless murals which detail the life and teachings of the Buddha. Further, if you time your visit from lyf Dayanta Xi’an which features its own Xian apartments in the city, then you will be well placed to likely hear the sounding of the drums and bells which are common practices across Buddhist temples in the world.

3

Green Dragon Temple

Have access to the ancient Chinese tradition of viewing ‘sakura’ or cherry blossoms when at the Green Dragon Temple. The beautiful cherry orchard which graces the temple grounds is a highlight of any visit while its detailed pagodas, pavilions, benches and bridges make for quite the outdoor escape in Xi’an that you would never dream of wanting to end. Once called the ‘Temple of Inspiration,’ the Green Dragon Temple showcases the Tang style of architecture and although considered a remake of its former self, continues to draw in locals and travellers of all ages who yearn for some quiet time.

4

Daxingshan Temple

As a shimmering jewel that transports one back to the time of the Western Jin Dynasty, Daxingshan Temple was noted for having accommodated South Asian scholars who were engaged in translating scriptures. Boasting a cross spectrum of architectural brilliance that covers the breadth and scope of the Mahavira Hall, Devaraja Hall and the Mountain Gate, the said shrine was subjected to various reconstruction efforts. Currently, the park which encircles the Temple is utilised by worshippers and occasional tourists.

5

Xi’an Great Mosque

Nestled in the Muslim Quarter, Xi’an Great Mosque captures the very essence of the region’s multicultural vibe. What makes the Mosque stand out as a tourist and cultural hotspot can be attributed to its design elements which marry Arabic scripture & Islamic art with traditional Chinese architecture. In fact, its central minaret appears more of a pagoda than anything you would associate with mosques in the Middle East. Bursts of colour will be your constant companion regardless of where your gaze may rest with its turquoise roof tiles and red pavilions worthy of your camera lens.