Colonial Korea: Silleuksa Temple – 신륵사 (Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do)


Sillleuksa Temple in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do from 1916.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Silleuksa Temple is located in Yeoju, Gyeonggi-do. The name of the temple means “Divine Bridle Temple,” in English, and it has to do with a legend that surrounds the temple. The name of the temple relates to a horse that was uncontrollable. The horse was reined in by the power of the Buddha.

There is little known about the early years of the temple. There are two stories related to the establishment of Silleuksa Temple. One believes that Silleuksa Temple was first established during the reign of King Jinpyeong (r. 579-632); while another story relates how the temple was first founded by the famed monk Wonhyo-daesa (617-686).

However, after the temple was first established, Silleuksa Temple has been expanded and destroyed by fire. And in 1469, Silleuksa Temple became the prayer sanctuary to the royal mausoleum to the great King Sejong. Silleuksa Temple has a scenic location and beautiful shrine halls; it also houses numerous treasures.

Silleuksa - Main Hall Geukrak

The Geukrak-jeon main hall at Silleuksa in 1932.

Silleuksa3 - Main Hall Geukrak

A closer look at the front facade of the main hall at Silleuksa Temple.

Silleuksa1 - Main Hall Geukrak

A look at some of the eaves work on the main hall.

Silleuksa2 - Main Hall Geukrak

A look around the decorative interior of the Geukrak-jeon Hall in 1932.

Silleuksa100 - 7 tier

The seven tier marble pagoda that lies out in front of the Geukrak-jeon Hall in 1933.

Silleuksa101 - 7 tier

A closer look at the marble pagoda.

Silleuksa102 - 7 tier

And an even closer look at the base of the pagoda.

Silleuksa4 - Josajeon

The Josa-jeon Hall. It’s also the oldest building at the temple. This picture dates back to 1932.

Silleuksa5 - Josajeon

The intricate woodwork adorning the Josa-jeon Hall.


The six-story brick pagoda. The picture was taken in 1916.


A closer look at the design of the bricks.


The Geukrak-jeon Hall in 2015.


The seven tier marble pagoda as it appears today.


A closer look at the unique pagoda.


The six story stone pagoda that overlooks the river.


A thing of beauty.

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