The ten metre tall stone pagoda at Jukjangsa Temple, which also just so happens to be a National Treasure.
Hello Again Everyone!!
Depending on what map you’re using, Jukjangsa Temple can appear by two names. The original name seems to be Jukjangsa Temple, while the more recent one was Seohwangsa Temple. However, it seems as though the temple more recently has reverted back to Jukjangsa Temple. And Jukjangsa Temple is located in Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do on the very southern slopes of Hyeongjaebong.
You first approach the temple off the highway, which is quickly followed by subsequent farmers’ fields. It’s next to these farmers’ fields, and up a valley under Hyeongjaebong, that you’ll arrive at Jukjangsa Temple. And it’s the commanding ten metre tall stone pagoda at the temple that you’ll notice first. This pagoda, the Five-story Stone Pagoda in Jukjang-ri, Gumi, stands ten metres in height; it’s the tallest of its kind in Korea. It also just so happens to be National Treasure #130. This pagoda is believed to date back to the Unified Silla Dynasty. The pagoda is made from over 100 pieces of stone, and there is an opening for a golden Buddha to sit (the current one is new). An interesting legend surrounds the pagoda. It’s believed that a girl and her younger brother competed to complete a pagoda. The girl won the race, and it’s this pagoda that remains on the temple grounds to this day.
Just behind this ever-present pagoda at Jukjangsa Temple is the temple’s Daeung-jeon main hall. The exterior walls to this hall are adorned with various Buddhist motif murals like the Bodhidharma and Wonhyo-daesa’s enlightenment. The pink flowered latticework that adorns the doors of the main hall is also something to keep an eye out for, as well. As for the interior, and sitting on the main altar, you’ll notice a triad of golden statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power).
To the left of the main hall is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. There are some masterful shaman murals inside this hall. The ferocious tiger painted inside the Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) mural, as well as the dour-looking expression on Yongwang’s (The Dragon King) face are something to enjoy for their originality.
HOW TO GET THERE: From in front of the Gumi Intercity Bus Terminal, there’s a bus stop. From this bus stop, you can board either Bus #20 or #20-1 that heads towards Seonsan (선산). Get off at the Seonsan terminal, which also just so happens to be the last stop. From the Seonsan terminal, walk about 200 metres to get to the Seonsan jongjeom stop and take Bus #38-6 or #338-6. After three stops, or five minutes, get off at the Jukjang-ri stop. From this stop, walk about 15 minutes to get to Jukjangsa Temple.
OVERALL RATING: 6.5/10. By far, the main highlight to Jukjangsa Temple is the ten metre tall National Treasure. Lesser sites to see at the temple are the triad of shaman murals, as well as the intricate artwork adorning the exterior walls to the temple’s main hall. In combination, the artwork at Jukjangsa Temple can make for a nice little trip to Gumi, Gyeongsangbuk-do.
The view that greets you as you approach Jukjangsa Temple.
The amazing ten metre tall stone pagoda at Jukjangsa Temple.
A look inside the towering pagoda.
The temple’s main hall.
Some of the cute artwork lying around.
The latticework adorning the Daeung-jeon.
The Wonhyo-daesa enlightenment painting.
The Bodhidharma and Dazu Huike mural.
The main altar inside the Daeung-jeon.
The view from the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall.
The Sanshin mural housed inside the Samseong-gak.
The intense look of Yongwang.