Jukrimsa Temple – 죽림사 (Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do)


The view from the main hall at Jukrimsa Temple in Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

During the spring, I made a day trip to the city of Cheongdo, Gyeongsangbuk-do and Jukrimsa Temple was the last of the three temples I had set out for myself. While smaller in size than the other two, it certainly had highlights of its own.

You first approach Jukrimsa Temple up one of the stranger roads with spray paint scrawled all over abandoned buildings pointing you in the right direction. When you first arrive in the temple parking lot, you’ll have to make your way past the temple’s kitchen. Once you pass by this building, which kind of screens the temple courtyard, you’ll finally be able to see the main hall. The exterior walls to this diminutive main hall are painted with some fading, but beautiful, Palsang-do murals. Above these, and above the entrances, are murals dedicated to both Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power).

As you enter the main hall, you’ll be greeted by some of the smaller statues in a main hall in all of Korea. Seated in the centre is a tiny statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by two even smaller sized statues of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Power and Wisdom for Amita-bul). On the far left wall is a highly original mural of the Ten Kings of the Underworld. I can honestly say, I’ve never seen anything like it. It’s joined to the right by a mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). And to the far right is a masterful, yet smaller in size, guardian mural.

Out in front of the main hall is a two metre tall, five tier, stone pagoda. Between the main hall and the temple’s kitchen is a stone shrine dedicated to Yongwang (The Dragon King). The nuns’ quarters are the row of buildings to the far left in the temple courtyard.

Between the main hall and the nuns’ quarters, there’s a set of stone stairs that leads to an upper courtyard that houses two more temple halls. The first, and much longer, temple hall is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Out in front of this building were some beautiful wild daisies. The exterior walls to this hall are painted with Shimu-do, Ox-Herding, murals. As for inside, and sitting in the middle of the set of three, is a rather long Chilseong (The Seven Stars) mural. To the right hangs a painting of Dokseong (The Lonely Saint) and to the right is one of the more unique seated murals dedicated to Yongwang (The Dragon King). He’s without both his angry beard and eyebrows. He actually looks quite pleasant.

To the left of the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall is the Sanshin-gak. Inside this smaller sized hall hangs a masterful portrait of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). Rather uniquely, and as you make your way back to the parking lot, there are some wild poppies growing there if you missed them the first time around. I say uniquely, because as far as I know, they are illegal to grow in Korea. Either way, the bright orange poppies are something to keep an eye out for, especially in the late spring and early summer months.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Cheongdo train station, you’ll need to take a taxi  to Jukrimsa Temple. The taxi ride will last 7.5 k.m., and it’ll cost you 15,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 5/10. There are some beautiful views of northern Cheongdo from Jukrimsa Temple. In addition to the view and the rare poppies that greet you in the temple parking lot, the unique Ten Kings mural inside the main hall and the Yongwang painting inside the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall are something to keep in mind when visiting this little traveled temple.


 The smaller sized main hall at Jukrimsa Temple.


 The view from the temple courtyard.


Just one of the Palsang-do murals.


 A look inside the main hall at the main altar with the smaller sized statues.


 The highly unique Ten Kings of the Underworld mural.


 The guardian mural inside the main hall.


 The stone Yongwang shrine.


 A look up at the Samseong-gak.


 The rather large and long Chilseong mural.


 The rather pleasant-looking Yongwang.


 The Sanshin-gak at Jukrimsa Temple.


 The masterful Sanshin mural.


 The daisies out in front of the Samseong-gak.


 One last look from the temple courtyard.


And the very rare orange poppies waiting for me in the temple parking lot.

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