Gwaneumsa Temple – 관음사 (Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do)

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One of the uniquely painted pictures at Gwaneumsa Temple in Yangsan.

 Hello Again Everyone!!

The other day my wife and I decided to go for a walk around our apartment. Me being me, I wanted to check out any local temples nearby, so I googled it on google maps. The closest temple’s name was/is Gwaneumsa Temple (관음사).  It’s about a 10 minute walk from where we live, so on a brisk Sunday morning, we made our way over to the temple.

Gwaneumsa Temple is a small temple that doesn’t look all that historic. In fact, according it its website, it only dates back to 1929.  It only has three main buildings on the temple compound.  To the left are the living quarters.  Up the steep mountainside slope is the main hall.  It is a concrete building with beautiful paintings adorning it. The most unique aspect to this temple is on the front roof ridge.  Painted Buddha’s hands are holding different icons.  From the front view you can hardly notice the shrine dedicated to the mountain god, Sanshin, behind it.  Like the main hall, it is rather plain all but for its beautiful exterior paintings and the Indian looking figure on the pathway leading up to the shrine.

HOW TO GET THERE:  To get to Gwaneumsa Temple, you can get off at Namyangsan station, line two, subway stop #242.  After exiting from the subway station, head west for about 30 minutes.  You’ll pass by a Dunkin’ Donuts at the 5 minute point, but keep heading west.  You’ll then meet a steep hill with a Paris Baguette at its base at the 10 minute mark: keep heading west.  Once you’re at the top of the hill, at the 20 minute mark, you’ll notice a Buddhist statue to the left.  You have to turn right, where the apartments end, and head up another steep hill.  Once you’re at the top of this hill you’ll notice a sign pointing you towards the temple.  The sign looks like this:

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The sign leading the way to Gwaneumsa Temple

From this sign you’ll have to walk another 2 to 3 minutes to the temple.  The temple will be on your left.

Admission to the temple is free.

OVERALL RATING: 1.5/10.  While the temple makes for a nice day walk for those living in Yangsan, I wouldn’t really recommend going to see this temple if you’re not in the local area.  Other than the beautiful paintings adorning the exterior of the main hall and the mountain shrine, this temple is rather ordinary with its concrete look and lack of historical significance associated with it.

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The view of Yangsan from up high.
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Another view of Yangsan, and the place where you have to turn right once you see that Buddha statue.
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The view of Obongsan Mountain, where Gwaneunsa Temple is located.
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The first view of the sparse courtyard at the temple.
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The newer looking twin stone lanterns.
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The well groomed path that leads up to the main hall that sits on the steep mountain-face.
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One, of the many, beautiful paintings that adorns the exterior faces of the temple buildings. All along the main hall are paintings depicting the life of the Buddha.
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One of the more unique paintings depicting the life of the Buddha.
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These paintings are unique in the complexity they convey of the Buddha’s life.
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The princely Buddha escaping the trappings of his royal life.
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Yet another great depiction.
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And the death of the earthly Buddha, and the rebirth of the Immortal One.
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The Shrine dedicated to the Mountain god: Sanshin.
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The Indian looking sculpture that lies along the way to the mountain shrine.
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A painting depicting Sanshin on the outside wall of the shrine.
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One last look at the temple and neighbouring apartments before we left.
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And a look up at the uniquely adorning hands of the Buddha.

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