The main hall at Eunhasa Temple with the looming mountain peaks from Sineosan Mountain in the background.
Hello Again Everyone!!
I had last visited Eunhasa Temple (은하사) in Gimhae with a friend back in the summer of 2008; however, I had never visited the temple with my wife. And with the beautiful buildings and scenery, I wanted to show the temple off to her, so we decided to go.
Eunhasa Temple means Silver Water Temple in English. The temple is located on the side of Sineosan Mountain (which means Fish of the Gods, in English), and it’s one of Korea’s oldest temples. According to legend, the temple’s main hall dates back to the reign of the famous King Suro (?-199 A.D.), and it was built by monk Jangyuhwasang. What is probably more plausible is that there was earthenware found at the temple that dates back to the Three Kingdoms Period. The temple was originally called Seorimsa Temple. During the Imjin War in 1592, the entire temple was burned to the ground. The main hall, Daeung-jeon Hall was rebuilt in 1629. Subsequently, the temple was restored three times; once in 1649, the second time in 1801, and the third in 2003.
You first approach Eunhasa Temple up a winding road for 400 metres. At the base of the parking lot, you’ll climb up an uneven set of large stone stairs to get to the temple’s lotus pond that houses a beautifully aged bronze statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). Over the carp designed granite bridge, you’ll pass by a forested path to your right, and head straight up another steep set of uneven stone stairs. Passing through the gate that has three doorways, you’ll finally enter into the lower courtyard at the temple. On this level, and to your immediate right, is a gift shop and tea house. Straight ahead is another temple parking lot, and to the far left is the administrative office for the temple. But what is most memorable about this view of the temple is the stately bell pavilion that hovers over the lower courtyard, and the imposing Sineosan Mountain peaks in the background.
Up yet another uneven set of stone stairs (yes, there’s a lot of stairs to this temple), you’ll finally see just how picturesque this temple is with the beautiful temple buildings and the scenery that surrounds you at every turn. To your immediate left is the stately bell pavilion that first greeted you at the temple. The bell pavilion is adorned with several unusually designed dragon heads all over its exterior. Two of the more unusual dragon heads are perched on the arm rails that lead you into the bell pavilion. They’re simply dragon heads with wings. But the most unusual dragon fixture on the bell pavilion is the wooden dragon gong that has a double-headed turtle resting on the right side of the dragon gong’s flank.
Next to the bell pavilion, and up the last uneven set of stone stairs, is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall that houses Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). The exterior walls of the hall are unadorned; however, the floral lattice work that adorns the doors to the Hall are gorgeous. Inside the hall sits Jijang-bosal. And on either side of him are the 10 Kings of the Underworld. There are also a couple guardians protecting both entrances to the Hall.
Sitting centrally located on the upper courtyard are three temple Halls. The one in the middle is the Daeung-jeon Hall, which acts as the temple’s main hall. This rather small main hall is beautifully decorated by paintings both inside and out. The exterior walls of the main hall have some of the more stunning Biseon in Korea, as well as beautiful Buddhas, Bodhisattvas, and saints, adorning the gables. There are also some large and unique murals that surround the sides of the main hall, as well as a set of frightful Nathwi adorning the main entrance to the main hall. And as impressive as the main hall is on the exterior, the interior paintings are even more beautiful. Inside sits a solitary statue of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). There are a couple paintings of this Bodhisattva adorning the right wall of the main hall with a gorgeous guardian painting on the left wall.
To the left of the main hall is the Samseong-gak hall dedicated to the three most popular shaman gods to be found at a Korean temple; they are, Chilseong (The Seven Stars), San Shin (The Mountain god), and Dokseong (The Recluse). The paintings of these three gods are stunning. And the exterior walls of this hall are adorned with flowers and a couple of chubby fellow talking on the right wall.
To the right of the main hall is, what looks to be, the Nahan-jeon, which is dedicated to the disciples of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). There was a ceremony going on when we arrived, so it was impossible to get any closer, but from what I remember from my last visit, there’s a white Seokgamoni-bul statue sitting on the main altar of the hall with white flanking statues of the Nahan. And to the far right is the monk dorms and the temple office.
HOW TO GET THERE: You can catch Bus #98 from the Gimhae Intercity Bus Terminal, which is beside the King Suro Subway Stop. Ride the bus for 4.7 kilometres until you arrive at Inje University. From Inje University you can get to the temple in one of two ways: First, you can either walk the 3 kilometre hike up hill (which I don’t advise); or second, you can take a taxi for about 3,000 won.
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OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. The temple is beautifully located on the side of Mt.Sineosan with the gray granite peaks looking down at EunhasaTemple. The dragon adorned bell pavilion is a beautiful example of Korean craftsmanship as is the floral lattice work adorning the Myeongbu-jeon Hall. All the halls have beautiful paintings adorning the exterior walls, and the stately statue of a crowned Gwanseeum-bosal is second to none in all of Korea as are the murals that keep this Bodhisattva company inside the main hall.