The beautiful view from the heights of Mangunsa Temple in Namhae, Gyeongsangnam-do.
Hello Again Everyone!!
As the third, and final, temple in our journey, I decided to head up to the remote Mangunsa Temple. While it wasn’t our first choice, it was definitely a great choice to go and see.
At the top of Mt. Mangunsan, which the temple gets its name from, is Mangunsa Temple (망운사). Standing at a height of 786 metres tall, you can get some great views of the ocean below.
You’ll make your way up a very winding, mountainous, and long road that leads up to Mangunsa Temple. The first thing to greet you at the temple is a colourful Iljumun Gate. A little further along the road, and you’ll come to the temple’s parking lot, as well as a small stone gate just before you enter the temple grounds. This looks to be a gate for welcoming the dead. It’s from this area that you get your first good look at the ocean below. While not as popular of a temple as its neighbour, Boriam Hermitage, the views from Mangunsa Temple are just as spectacular.
As you first enter into the temple courtyard, you’ll first notice that there has been a lot of new construction at Mangunsa Temple. To your immediate right is a newly built budo that is pretty ornate. Backing this budo is the Yaksa-jeon. This Yaksa-jeon is built completely of stone, so all but for the front of the hall, there are no murals adorning this hall. As for the interior, a solitary Yaksayore-bul (The Medicine Buddha) sits on the altar. He is backed by a beautiful red mural that has various Buddhas and deities in it. To the right of the main altar is a guardian mural, and to the left is an equally beautiful painting of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).
Behind the Yaksa-jeon is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. The interior of this hall houses three newly painted murals to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), San shin (The Mountain Spirit), and Dokseong (The Recluse). All three of these murals are still very vibrant. To the left of the Samseong-gak shrine hall is Yongwang-dang. This hall, like the Yaksa-jeon, is completely built out of large gray stones. As for the interior, a nice single dragon mural, with Yongwang (The Dragon King) in the centre, adorns the altar of this shrine hall. This mural is fronted by an intense, and eye-popping, statue of Yongwang.
In front of both the Samseong-gak and the Yongwang-dang is the large main hall at Mangunsa Temple. Surrounding the exterior of this hall are numerous white-clad murals of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). As for the interior, and sitting on the altar, is a triad centred by Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). To his left is Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife), and to his right is Gwanseeum-bosal. The interior of this hall is decorated with a handful of beautiful red murals like the one that backs the triad on the main altar. To the right is a guardian painting. And to the immediate right of the main altar is a red hued Dragon Ship of Wisdom mural. And to the left is another red mural of Jijang-bosal.
As for the remainder of the temple, there are the monks’ quarters as well as a very colourful bell pavilion. This bell pavilion looks like it has just recently seen the edge of a paint brush. There is also a platform in the temple courtyard that allows you to look out onto the beautiful ocean down below.
HOW TO GET THERE: Once again, to get to a remote temple in Namhae, you’ll first have to get to the Namhae Intercity Bus Terminal. From this bus terminal, you can take a taxi to Mangunsa Temple. The distance is 7.2 kilometres. The reason that I give the distance, and not a time, is that once you’re up in the mountain and climbing the road in a car, the time can fluctuate. But as a ballpark figure, the time to get to Mangunsa Temple can be anywhere from 20 to 25 minutes and the price of the trip can cost you anywhere from 10,000 to 20,000 won.
OVERALL RATING: 7/10. Much like Boriam Hermitage, the temple buildings won’t blow you away. However, there is enough to occupy you with like the red murals inside the main hall, the beautiful shaman deity murals inside the Samseong-gak, as well as the intense statue of Yongwang inside his own shrine hall. And the views from Mangunsa Temple are pretty damn impressive, too.