Meet your private guide in the lobby of your hotel at 08:00 and transfer by air-conditioned car to Qian County, a journey of around 85 kms. Here you will visit the Qianling Mausoleum.
The Qianling Mausoleum is located on Mount Liang to the northwest of modern day Xi’an. As you approach the Mausoleum you pass along a ‘Spirit Way’ where you will see stone statues lined up along both sides similar to the later tombs of the Song and Ming Dynasties. There are also some unusual statues such as winged horses, lions, foreign envoys and even ostriches. The Mausoleum itself is the tomb of the Tang Dynasty Emperor Gaozong who died in 683 AD. Emperor Gaozang’s wife, Wu Zetian, became the only female emperor ever in China after she stole the throne, when she died in 706 AD she was buried alongside Emperor Gaozong in the same tomb.
The other tomb you will visit is that of Princess Yongtai who died in 701 AD. Princess Yongtai was the granddaughter of Wu Zetian and was a victim of Wu Zetian’s political purges when she stole the throne. Because of this Princess Yongtai was buried simply as Lady Yongtai, but much later after Wu Zetian’s death the Princess was exonerated and her status as Princess returned even though she had already died. There have been more than 1,000 artefacts excavated from the tomb of Princess Yongtai, including glazed pottery statuettes, gold items and murals. You can also see the outstanding carvings and paintings as well as the stone coffin of the Princess.
From the Qianling Mausoleum continue your journey to the Famen Temple further to the west. Originally built in the time of the Eastern Han Dynasty to house the finger bone relic of the Sakyamuni Buddha, the temple at that time was known as the Asoka Temple. The name was changed during the Tang Dynasty. The central building of the original temple complex is the 13 tiered pagoda, supposedly the location where the finger bone of the Buddha was found. There is also an excellent museum containing many treasures from the Tang Dynasty.
In 2009 a new building was erected to house the finger bone relic and this is the Namaste Dagoba. Designed by a Taiwanese architect, the Namaste Dagoba is claimed to be the tallest Buddhist Stupa in the world, standing at 148 metres high. At certain festival days and on Saturdays and Sundays it is possible to view the finger bone relic at the Namaste Dagoba.
After leaving the Famen Temple complex you will transfer back to your Xian hotel where and the end of your tour.