Sujeongsa Temple – 수정사 (Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The Daeung-jeon Hall at Sujeongsa Temple in Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Just west of the summit of Mt. Bibongsan in northern Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do lays Sujeongsa Temple. This temple for nuns is situated at the end of a long valley and next to a wandering stream that flows the entire way.

Sujeongsa Temple was first constructed by the monk Naong (1320-76) during the reign of King Gongmin (1351-74) of the Goryeo Dynasty. Completely destroyed at the end of the Goryeo Dynasty (918-1392), it was later rebuilt during the Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910).

As you approach the temple from the west, you’ll first approach a slender Iljumun Gate along the way. A further kilometre along, and you’ll finally find yourself squarely located in the temple parking lot. Just to the right of the nuns’ dorms, and to the left, you’ll find yourself squarely at the edge of the temple courtyard.

Straight ahead is the temple’s main hall: the Daeung-jeon Hall. This hall dates back to the Joseon Dynasty, and while smaller in size, it’s Gyeongsangbuk-do’s Cultural Heritage #73. The main hall is surrounded by beautiful floral and Buddhist motif murals. As for the interior, and resting on the main altar, are a triad of white and gold statues centred by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). This triad is backed by a stunning gold leaf painting of the Buddha. To the left of the main altar are two paintings. The first is the Chilseong (The Seven Stars) mural, while the other is the temple’s guardian mural. And to the right of the main altar is a mural dedicated to Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). The entire main hall lies under a beautiful, and colourful, canopy of paper lotus flowers.

To the right rear of the main hall is another compact shrine hall. This hall is the Sanshin-gak, which is dedicated to Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit). While the exterior walls to this hall are all unadorned all but for the traditional dancheong colours, the interior houses a large Sanshin mural that is masterfully executed.

HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest way to get to the remote Sujeongsa Temple in Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do is to take a taxi from the Cheongsong Intercity Bus Terminal. The ride should take about 20 minutes and cost 15,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10. While there isn’t just one feature at Sujeongsa Temple in Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do that will blow you away, there are several highlights to keep an eye out for like the Sanshin Taenghwa mural housed inside the Sanshin-gak. The other main highlight is the Daeung-jeon Hall and main altar housed inside it.

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The view from the temple parking lot.

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The view as you enter the temple courtyard.

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One of the floral murals that adorns the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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And another more peculiar painting that adorns the main hall.

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A look inside the Daeung-jeon Hall at the main altar.

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The guardian mural inside the Daeung-jeon Hall.

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As well as the Chilseong mural.

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And the Jijang-bosal mural.

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All of which is housed under a beautiful rainbow of paper lotus flowers.

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A closer look at the main altar and the gold leaf mural.

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The view from the Daeung-jeon Hall towards Mt. Bibongsan.

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The Sanshin-gak at Sujeongsa Temple.

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And the descriptive Sanshin mural housed inside it.

Bogwangsa Temple – 보광사 (Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The historic Manse-ru Pavilion at Bogwangsa Temple in Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Located just north of the Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do city centre is Bogwangsa Temple. Bogwangsa Temple was first constructed by Uisang-daesa in the 7th century. Later, in the 14th century, the temple was designated the protector of the Cheongsong Shim family (a little more on that later).

You first approach Bogwangsa Temple up a long country road. If you’re driving, be careful because the road has undergone a fair bit of reconstruction and there are sharp rocks along the way. Don’t be like me and slice a tire open along the way.

The first signs that you’re nearing the temple are the turtle-based stele out in front of the temple grounds. A little further along, and past the temple parking lot, is the Manse-ru Pavilion that separates the outer world with the inner temple courtyard. The Manse-ru Pavilion was first constructed in 1429 as a place for the Cheongsong Shim family to meet. In fact, King Sejong ordered this pavilion to be built for his wife, Queen Soheon (1395-1446), to whom her family belonged to the Cheongsong Shim clan.

Passing to the right of the Manse-ru Pavilion, and before you enter the main temple courtyard, you’ll probably be welcomed to the temple by a friendly female Jindo dog. For the rest of your trip around the temple grounds, she’ll probably keep you company.

Having finally stepped into the main temple courtyard, you’ll first see the diminutive Geukrak-jeon main hall in front of you. Out in front of this hall is an equally smaller sized three tier stone pagoda. As for the Geukrak-jeon Hall, it was first constructed in 1429, alongside the Manse-ru Pavilion. Sometime during the early to mid-Joseon Dynasty (1392-1910), the Geukrak-jeon Hall was destroyed. It wasn’t until the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty, and during its renovation, that it was discovered that the newly built Geukrak-jeon Hall had been formerly constructed in 1615.

While the exterior walls to this hall are largely unadorned, it’s while stepping inside the main hall that you’ll be welcomed by beautiful murals and statues. Resting on the main altar are a triad of uniquely made sculptures. In the centre rests Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power and Wisdom for Amita-bul). This triad is then backed by a new altar mural. Filling out the rest of the main hall is a guardian mural in the same style as the large main altar painting.

To the left rear of the main hall is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Slightly elevated over top of the Geukrak-jeon Hall, and all but unadorned, once more, you’ll be welcomed inside the shaman shrine hall by a triad of shaman paintings. The first of the three, and in the far left corner, is an elaborate Sanshin mural dedicated to the Mountain Spirit. This mural is joined to the right by an older mural of Chilseong (The Seven Stars) as well as Dokseong (The Lonely Saint).

The other buildings at Bogwangsa Temple are buildings for the nuns like the nuns’ dorms and the temple kitchen.

HOW TO GET THERE: The easiest and fastest way to get to Bogwangsa Temple is to take a taxi from the Cheongsong Intercity Bus Terminal. By taxi it should take 10 minutes and cost 3,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 6/10. Bogwangsa Temple has a royal past that’s linked closely to the famed King Sejong. The historic Manse-ru Pavilion and the Geukrak-jeon main hall are a close link to this past. And when you add into the mix the beautiful temple artwork like the main altar statues and paintings, as well as the elaborate Sanshin mural inside the Samseong-gak, and Bogwangsa Temple makes for a nice little trip outside Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

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The turtle-based stele at the entry of Bogwangsa Temple.

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The temple grounds as you first approach Bogwangsa Temple.

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The friendly Jindo dog with the diminutive three tier pagoda next to her.

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A look inside the historic Manse-ru Pavilion at Bogwangsa Temple.

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The 17th century Geukrak-jeon Hall.

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The doily that welcomes you inside the main hall.

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The main altar inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall.

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A closer look at Amita-bul that centres the main altar.

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The guardian mural inside the Geukrak-jeon Hall.

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What a view!!

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The Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall to the left rear of the main hall.

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The elaborate Sanshin mural at Bogwangsa Temple.

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As well as the Chilseong mural.

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And the Jindo exhausted after our little walk around the temple grounds.

Daejeonsa Temple – 대전사 (Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do)

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The beautiful and scenic Daejeonsa Temple in Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do.

Hello Again Everyone!!

On the southwest side of Juwangsan National Park outside of Cheongsong, Gyeongsangbuk-do is the extremely scenic Daejeonsa Temple. Daejeonsa Temple was first established in 672 A.D. by the famed monk Uisang-daesa. The name of the temple cryptically refers to the son of King Ju: Daejeondogun. According to legend, King Ju was a Chinese rebel that retreated to Mt. Juwangsan where he hid and died.

After paying your entry fee at the Juwangsan National Park, you’ll make your way towards Daejeonsa Temple next to the wandering Jubang-cheon stream. Along the way you’ll pass by a collection of restaurants and souvenir stores. Finally, you’ll arrive at the temple entry gate where you’ll have to pay an additional 2,800 won to enter Daejeonsa Temple.

Straight ahead, and framed by the rounded peaks of Mt. Juwangsan, is the Bogwang-jeon main hall. This hall dates back to 1672 after the original was destroyed during the Imjin War (1592-98). Inside this unadorned exterior is a triad of statues centred by Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). He is joined by what looks to be Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyeon-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). And out in front of the Bogwang-jeon Hall is a reconstructed three tier pagoda with ancient guardians edged into its base.

To the left of the main hall stands the Gwaneum-jeon Hall. The exterior walls to this hall are painted with various incarnations of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). They are all masterful in their execution. Stepping inside this hall, you’ll be greeted by the multi-armed and headed Gwanseeum-bosal on the main altar. She’s joined by Yongwang (The Dragon King) to the left. Interestingly, there are two circles of orange lotuses shaped by crystal to either side of the main altar with a golden statue of Gwanseeum-bosal in the centre.

And to the right of the Bogwang-jeon main hall are two additional shrine halls. The first, and smaller of the two, is the uniquely shaped Sanshin-gak. Instead of having the Sanshin (Mountain Spirit) mural facing directly towards you as you enter, the painting is to the far left in an otherwise unoccupied shaman shrine hall. As for the painting itself, it’s newer in composition and there’s a snickering tiger to the left of Sanshin.

The final shrine hall that visitors can explore is the Myeongbu-jeon Hall to the right of the Sanshin-gak. Inside this shrine hall, and resting on the main altar, is a golden capped Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). This statue is then backed by an older mural of the Bodhisattva of the Afterlife. Additionally, Jijang-bosal is surrounded on both sides by ten smaller sized statues of the Ten Kings of the Underworld.

After visiting all the shrine halls at Daejeonsa Temple, take the time to enjoy the beauty at Juwangsan National Park. There are two additional hermitages, Juwangam Hermitage and Baekryeonam Hermitage, that can be enjoyed in close proximity to Daejeonsa Temple, as well.

Admission to the temple is 2,800 won.

HOW TO GET THERE: From the Juwangsan Bus Terminal, you can simply walk to Daejeonsa Temple. It’s about an 800 metre walk to get to the temple.

OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. Depending on just how much of Juwangsan National Park you want to explore, this overall rating can go a lot higher; however, with just Daejeonsa Temple in mind, it gets the rating it does. Daejeonsa Temple takes up residence in one of the most beautiful National Parks in Korea. With this as a backdrop, the refined paintings housed throughout the Gwanseum-jeon Hall as well as the snickering tiger in the Sanshin mural make Daejeonsa Temple a must see especially for a nice little retreat away from a hectic life.

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A frozen Jubang-cheon stream out in front of Daejeonsa Temple.

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The towering peaks of Mt. Juwangsan off in the distance.

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A part of the Taebaeksan mountain range.

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The beautifully framed Daejeonsa Temple.

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The ancient base to the three tier pagoda out in front of the Bogwang-jeon main hall.

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A look inside the Myeongbu-jeon Hall.

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As well as a look at the uniquely designed Sanshin-gak.

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Sanshin with a snickering tiger at his side.

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Both Mt. Juwangsan and the Gwaneum-jeon Hall together.

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A closer look at the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.

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One of the amazing paintings that adorns the exterior walls to the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.

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A look inside the Gwaneum-jeon Hall at Gwanseeum-bosal.

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With Yongwang to her side.

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One of the beautiful paintings that’s painted on one of the interior walls of the Gwaneum-jeon Hall.