Seokgolsa Temple – 석골사 (Miryang, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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The beautiful waterfall at Seokgolsa Temple

Hello Again Everyone!!

I probably would have never visited Seokgolsa Temple if it weren’t for my in-laws bringing me there in 2007.  And fortunately for me they did, because the temple turned out to be one of the more picturesque temples I’ve visited since moving to  Korea in 2003.

After visiting the grandmother-in-law in Miryang, my in-laws decided to drive around the scenic mountainscape that is Miryang. After driving around for a bit, my mother-in-law asked if I wanted to visit a little known temple in the area. Obviously, my answer was a yes, and the temple turned out to be Seokgolsa Temple (석골사).

Seokgolsa Temple is a smaller sized temple along one of the mountain ranges in Miryang. As you approach the temple, the first thing you’ll notice is a beautiful flowing waterfall. As you near the ascent towards the temple, you’ll first see the large pool collecting the water from the waterfall. This waterfall is a lot more picturesque than the one at Hongnyongsa Temple. Up the rocky trail, and across a well-worn granite bridge, you’ll come across the stone stairway that leads up to the temple compound. The temple itself consists of no more than 5 buildings: the main hall, shrine hall, dormitory, and prayer halls.  Adorning the main hall are some uniquely illustrated paintings of the Buddha’s life. The temple compound itself is surrounded by a mature bamboo forest. So as nice as these handful of temple buildings are, it’s the scenery at Seokgolsa Temple that makes it such a beautiful temple.

HOW TO GET THERE:  To get to Seokgolsa Temple…well…your guess is as good as mine. Other than to say it’s in Miryang, and only accessible by car, this temple is a near mystery to locate. So good luck: and sorry that I couldn’t be more help on this one.

The admission to the temple is free.


OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. As was previously mentioned, this temple is a little more picturesque than the other waterfall temple, Hongnyongsa Temple, in Yangsan. And for that reason, Seokgolsa Temple garners a slightly higher rating. Adding to the rolling waterfall are the beautiful views of the surrounding mountains from the temple grounds. Also, there is a beautiful bamboo forest that skirts the temple compound. And if the views of nature weren’t enough, the temple buildings themselves are beautifully decorated (both inside and out). So for all these reasons, and if you can find it, Seokgolsa Temple is well worth a visit in the Miryang countryside.

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A view of the beautiful mountains that surround Seokgolsa Temple.
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The bridge that spans the ravine that feeds the beautiful waterfall at the temple.
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The view of the cascades that feed the waterfall at the temple.
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A view from the head of the waterfall down at the pool below.
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The stone stairway that leads up to the temple grounds.
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The main hall at Seokgolsa Temple.
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And the shrine building, dedicated to Sanshin, at Seokgolsa Temple.
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Some of the beautiful paintings on the main hall.  This one illustrates the life of the Buddha.
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The most unique painting at the temple.
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The earthly Buddha dying.
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The Buddha teaching his disciples.
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The Buddha being tempted.
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Two life stages of the Buddha.  On the right is the Buddha escaping from his princely duties.  And on the left is the Buddha starving as he pursues enlightenment.
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And just like the exterior, the interior of the temple buildings are just as beautiful.
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A look at one of the intricately designed guardian painting inside a temple building at Seokgolsa Temple.
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Another altar piece. This one is Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).
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The back entrance at the temple with the surrounding bamboo forest.
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One last look at the temple grounds from the temple bridge.
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One last look at the rolling cascades.
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And one last look at the beautiful waterfall at Seokgolsa Temple.

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