Yongsusa Temple – 용수사 (Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The Sanshin-gak at Yongsusa Temple in Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

North of Andong, Gyeongsangbuk-do, and just south of Bonghwa, is Yongsusa Temple. The towering Mt. Yongdusan looms in the background as you make the long trek up to the scenic Yongsusa Temple.

You’ll pass through the slender two pillar Iljumun Gate on your way up to the ridge that holds Yongsusa Temple. When you do finally stand on the ridge that holds this temple, you’ll notice the compact bell pavilion to your left. Inside the compact bell pavilion is a beautiful bronze bell with various Buddhas, Bodhisattvas and floral patterns adorning it.

Slightly to the right, and book ended by a pair of long visitors’ dorms, is the temple’s main hall. The Daeung-jeon Hall is surrounded in the front and to the side by three marble replicas of famous pagodas that include Seokga-tap Pagoda and Dabo-tap Pagoda. The originals, of course, can be found at Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju. The exterior walls to this hall are surrounded by Buddhist motif murals like the Sacheonwang (The Four Heavenly Kings). Also, the lotus latticework at the front of the main hall is some of the best that you’ll find in Korea. Stepping inside the Daeung-jeon Hall, you’ll be greeted by a beautiful array of statues and paintings. Resting on the main altar is a seated statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha), who is surrounded by a fiery wooden nimbus. Joining the Buddha on the main altar are two standing statues of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). Rounding out the interior to the main hall is a wooden guardian relief. And the entire interior of the main hall falls under a beautiful canopy of colourful paper lanterns.

To the left of the main hall is a small enclosure with a weather-worn image of Mireuk-bul (The Future Buddha). And to the far right of the Daeung-jeon Hall is the Sanshin-gak, which lies up a long set of uneven wooden stairs. Inside this shaman shrine hall is one of the best examples of a Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural you’ll find in Korea with its uniquely painted tiger.

HOW TO GET THERE: Either from the Andong train station or the Andong Intercity Bus Terminal, because they are next to each other, you’ll need to exit either one and make your way to the Kyobolife bus stop, which is a three minute walk. From the Kyobolife bus stop, board Bus #67. After 42 stops, or an hour and forty minutes, get off at the Yongsusa Temple stop. From the bus stop, walk 425 metres, or 5 minutes, to Yongsusa Temple.

Additionally, you can take a taxi from the Andong train station or Andong Intercity Bus Terminal. The taxi ride should take 50 minutes and cost 27,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10. The main highlights to this hard to get to temple are the Daeung-jeon main altar and the Sanshin mural housed inside the Sanshin-gak. Other points of interest are the temple’s bronze bell and the triad of marble pagoda replicas out in front of the main hall.

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The view of the temple from the temple’s bell pavilion.

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The bronze bell at Yongsusa Temple.

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The Daeung-jeon Hall at Yongsusa Temple.

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The shrine for the ancient Mireuk-bul statue.

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A closer look at what apparently is Mireuk-bul.

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An even closer look at the Future Buddha.

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The amazing latticework at the front of the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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One of the Four Heavenly Kings.

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As well as one of the Buddhist motif murals adorning the main hall.

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A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall during morning prayer.

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A look around the main temple courtyard.

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The marble replica of the Dabo-tap Pagoda with an eye towards the Sanshin-gak.

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A view from the base of the Sanshin-gak.

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The long set of stairs towards the Sanshin-gak.

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The tiger mural painted on one of the exterior walls of the Sanshin-gak.

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The amazing Sanshin mural inside the Sanshin-gak at Yongsusa Temple.

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