Bucheogol Halmae – 부처골 할매 (Gyeongju)

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The statue of the Bucheogol Halmae on Mt. Namsan in Gyeongju.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Up a trail that leads through a bamboo grove, and a secluded trail that goes for about three hundred metres, you’ll finally arrive in a clearing and see the Bucheogol Halmae (or the Bucheogol Grandmother).

Sitting all alone in a clearing that’s surrounded by a forest of bamboo trees, and perched on top of a cascade of boulders on the northern portion of Gyeongju, is the serenely seated statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). The statue dates back to the 7th century.

The seated carved statue that appears inside of large rock is 1.4 metres in height. The entrance to the shrine is shaped like an arch, and during the early morning hours, when the sun appears in the east, it somewhat shades the face of the slightly concealed face of the statue. The face of the statue is slightly bent and its hands are placed inside the sleeves of its robe. And because of the way the statue’s head protrude, it almost appears to look like an older women with her hair tied back, instead of Seokgamoni-bul. And that’s why the statue has become known as the Bucheogol Halmae.

The statue was once located near a temple, but because of the passage of time, the temple no longer remains; instead, all that remains is the Bucheogol Halmae. In fact, the statue is so old that it’s the oldest Buddhist statue that remains on Mt. Namsan, which is saying a lot considering the vast amount of Buddhist artifacts, temples, and former temples that remain on the mountain. Presently, the statue is designated Treasure #198.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Bucheogol Halmae, you’ll have to get to Gyeongju first. From the Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal, you’ll have to hail a taxi. From the bus terminal to the shrine, it’ll take about 15 minutes, and it’ll cost you about 6,000 won. And from this shrine to the neighbouring Bucheobawi Rock, as you head south down the road you approach on, it’s about 700 metres.

View Larger Map (Just to the east of this marker lies Bucheogol Halmae)

OVERALL RATING: 7/10. This statue of the Buddha is a bit hard to rate because it’s all by itself and without a neighbouring temple nearby. However, for its age alone, it deserves to rate slightly higher than the average statue. Add into the mix the divine beauty that the statue exudes, and I came to the conclusion that Bucheogol-Halmae rates a seven out of ten. And because it’s so closely situated to both Borisa Temple and Bucheobawi, it’s definitely an area of Mt. Namsan, in Gyeongju, that should be explored.

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Through the swirling bamboo forest that leads to Bucheogol Halmae.
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And up the last bend in the path that gives way to a clearing.
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And the clearing gives way to the ancient shrine.
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A look at the rock enclosure that houses the “grandmother” and the pine forest that surrounds the clearing that she’s housed within.
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A closer look as the rock outcropping on the shrine shades the face of Seokgamoni-bul from the eastern approaching sun.
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A look at the ancient shrine in full.
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A closer look at the face of serenity that’s looked out over the north-eastern portion of Mt. Namsan ever since the 7th century.
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Just one more look…
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And then it was time to go.

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