Da Ci'en Temple is the home of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. In 648, to commemorate the dead virtuous queen, royalty ordered the building of a temple named 'Ci'en' (Mercy and Kindness), for which the status and scale far exceeded all others. Today, with an area of 32,314 square meters (38,648.5 square yards), one seventh of the original area, it still retains its grandeur.
Before the temple, there stands a statue of hierarch Xuanzang, the meritorious hierarch. Walking on and across a small bridge, visitors will see the gates of the temple. With guarding lions, the temple seems stately for lions were said to function as talismans.
Entering the temple you will see two buildings-Bell Tower in the east and Drum Tower in the west. Inside the Bell Tower hangs an iron bell 15 tons (14.76 gross tons) in weight. It was molded in 1548 in the Ming Dynasty (1368-1644). Along the central axis are arranged the Hall of Mahavira, Sermon Hall, Big Wild Goose Pagoda, and the Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang. In the Hall of Mahavira are three carved statues of Sakyamuni, and 18 arhats as well as Xuanzang. The Sermon Hall is where Buddhist disciples would listen to a sermon. A bronze statue of Amitabha is dedicated and a Buddha statue is collected by Xuanzang as oblation. The Hall of Xuanzang Sanzang is north of Big Wild Goose Pagoda. In this hall are Xuanzang's relic and a bronze statue of a seated Xuanzang. The inner wall is chiseled with murals depicting this hierarch's story. Renowned as the contemporary Dunhuang Buddhist storehouse praised by UNESCO, it is the biggest memorial of Xuanzang.