Few weeks back I visited Xi'an, the capital of Shaanxi province in China. Xi'an is one of the oldest cities of China. Being the capital of four dynasties, Xi’an holds a very important place in Chinese history. It is also the starting point of Silk Route to India.
My trip started with Qin Shi Huang Mausoleum & Museum, more popularly known as Terracotta Army of Emperor Qin Shi Huang. Qin Shi Huang, the first emperor of China formed this army of terracotta sculpture to protect emperor in his afterlife. These human size warriors astonish anyone for the detail of terracotta work created almost 2000 years ago. Half day I spent exploring all the excavation sites and museum. It is better to plan a trip on weekdays as in weekends this place becomes overcrowded with tourist groups. It is good to take a guide or an electronic guide along with to explore and understand the history. One can find English-speaking guides near the ticket counter at the entrance.
Big Goose Pagoda was my next destination. It is a Buddhist pagoda located in southern Xi'an. The entire structure leans slightly to the west due to a massive earthquake in 15th century. Big Goose Pagoda holds a very important place Buddhist history for bringing Buddhism from India to China. Xuanzang was a Chinese Buddhist monk who travelled from China to India to understand Buddhism. His 17 years journey was captured in his travel blogs and later became an important historical document. All the stories are written and described through pictures in the temple of the Pagoda. After spending couple of hours in the temple, I went to the top of the Pagoda. An amazing panoramic view of the city was waiting for me. Once I reached the top and looked around, I observed that there was no multistoried building constructed within 5 km radius of the Pagoda. Later from the local people I found out that it was to keep the focus on the Pagoda and maintain its significance. On the way back I saw Bell Tower and Drum tower both are located at the city's central.
Evening I spent exploring the street shops and eating dumplings. Dumplings are famous in Xi’an. After having an amazing dinner, I was all set to go the Xi’an city wall to experience the night view. The city is surrounded by a well-preserved wall. Xi’an was a walled-city in the history. The wall looked magnificent with all the lights at night. I again visited the wall next day early morning and the wall looked completely different than the night view. It is good to visit the wall at night and early morning. The wall is open from 8 am to 11 pm. One can either walk or cycle on the wall. An early morning cycling tour on the wall can give a flavor of the whole city. My trip was coming to an end. It was time for me to say adieu. Nothing could have been better to end a trip than a 14 kms cycling on the city wall and experiencing the rich history of Xi’an, one of the oldest cities of China.