Big Wild Goose Pagoda ( Dacien Temple) was built in 652AD during the Tang dynasty. Today it is 64 m tall. The pagoda shaped tower had been rebuilt several times due to damage caused by earthquakes. The original one collapsed and rebuilt in 704AD and again in 1556. One important role it played was to keep Buddhist sutras, paintings, relics and other structures brought from India into China. Burning incense wafted through the still cold air. There are several squares, courtyards and water features including water fountains around the complex. It is a pleasant place to wander. Sounds of kids playing in the gardens added some pleasant distraction. This pagoda temple is an icon from the early Xian and ancient China. Another iconic building is the Small Wild Goose pagoda, which I had missed. Nearby the temple is a great vegetarian restaurant. About half an hours walk brought us to upmarket coffee shops and bars. However, it was subdued and probably become active in the evenings. A local bus to and from the city centre is easily available. The Bell Tower Hotel is ideally located for transport connections and sightseeing.
Travelling in winter had it challenges but gave a different perspective of traveling. Unfortunately, smog pollution for burning coal is unavoidable in winter. It had been at hazardous level during our travels. Furthermore, the big Spring Festival was just 10 days away and traffic can become congested. Pre-purchasing onward travel like trains is advisable, as we did.