Colonial Korea: Hwaeomsa Temple – 화엄사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)

Hwaeomsa - 1933

Hwaeomsa Temple as it appeared in 1933.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Hwaeomsa Temple was first established as a temple in 544 A.D. by the monk Yeongi (who may or may not have been an Indian missionary monk). The name of the temple means, in English, “Flower Garland Sutra Temple.” And it’s located just outside Gurye, Jeollanam-do in the picturesque Jirisan National Park.

After its foundation, and during the mid-600s, the famed monk Uisang-daesa (625-702) returned from Tang China after studying there for ten years. With him, he returned to the Korean peninsula with the Hwaeom sect of Buddhist teachings. It was through his efforts, as well as the state support of Queen Seondeok (r. 632-647), that Hwaeomsa Temple was not only rebuilt, but it was expanded, as well.

Then, in the late 800s, Hwaeomsa Temple was further expanded, once more, under the guidance of Master Doseon-guksa (826-898). It was at this point in the temple’s history that most of the stone monuments that still stand to this day, like the stone lantern and stone pagodas in the main temple courtyard, were built.

Not surprisingly, and like so much of the rest of the Korean peninsula, Hwaeomsa Temple was completely destroyed by the invading Japanese during the Imjin War (1592-98). Just thirty years later, Hwaeomsa Temple was rebuilt.

Today, Hwaeomsa Temple is one of the largest temples throughout Korea. Not only that, but it’s also one of the most venerated, as well. In total, Hwaeomsa Temple houses four National Treasures like the Three-story Stone Pagoda, which is National Treasure #35, as well as the Gakhwang-jeon Hall, which is National Treasure #67. In addition to these National Treasures, Hwaeomsa Temple also houses an additional eight Treasures.

Hwaeomsa1 - 1933 Iljumun

The Iljumun Gate from 1933 at Hwaeomsa Temple.

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Some of the intricate artistry adorning the Iljumun Gate.

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The smaller sized Daeung-jeon main hall in 1933.

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The East Pagoda out in front of the Daeung-jeon Hall in 1916.

Hwaeomsa7 - 1916 West pagoda

As well as the West Pagoda in 1916 in the main temple courtyard.

Hwaeomsa8 - 1933 Daeungjeon

Some of the beautiful woodwork adorning the Daeung-jeon main hall.

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A look inside the main hall in 1933.

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A look up at the main altar inside the Daeung-jeon in 1933.

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A look around the main hall.

Hwaeomsa13 -1933 Wontongjeon

To the left of the main hall are the Wontong-jeon Hall and Nahan-jeon in 1933.

Hwaeomsa3 - 1933 Gakhwangjeon

The Gakhwang-jeon in 1933 with the massive, and historic, stone lantern out in front of it. The stone lantern also just so happens to be National Treasure #12.

Hwaeomsa4 - 1933 Gakhwangjeon

Outside the Gakhwang-jeon.

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A look inside the spacious Gakhwang-jeon.

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A look across the main altar inside the Gakhwang-jeon.

Hwaeomsa - 1916 lion pagoda

The Four Lion Three-story Stone Pagoda in 1916.

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A closer look at the lion base of the pagoda.

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An up close and personal with just one of the ferocious lions.

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The stone statue at the centre of the lion pagoda is believed to be Yeongi’s mother.

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Doors carved into the body of the pagoda.

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A stupa found at Hwaeomsa Temple in 1933.

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A large biseok found at Hwaeomsa Temple in 1933.


The same exact biseok from 2005.


The Iljumun Gate in 2013.


Daeung-jeon main hall in 2013.


The massive Gakhwang-jeon in 2013 with the West Pagoda out in front of it.


A look inside the Gakhwang-jeon hall in 2005.


The Four Lion Three-story Stone Pagoda in 2013.


And a closer look at the pagoda in 2013.

Sudoam Hermitage – 수도암 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)


The main hall at Sudoam Hermitage in Jirisan National Park.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Sudoam Hermitage, which means “Practicing the Way Hermitage,” in English, is located on the southwest section of Jirisan National Park. The hermitage is directly affiliated with the neighbouring Cheoneunsa Temple, and it was first founded by the Supreme Master Deokun. It was later rebuilt by the monk, Doseon. The historic hermitage is widely recognized as the first residence for a Buddhist high priest in all of Korea. However, during the Yeosun Uprising in October, 1948, which was a rebellion against the South Korean government brought on by the suppression of the Jeju Uprising and the refusal of Yeosu soldiers to help suppress the rebellion, the rebels threatened to burn the hermitage to the ground. As a result, the monks at Sudoam Hermitage donated the wood at the hermitage to build a neighbouring school. This left only the bare temple grounds. So in 1980, monk Pyeongjeon-hwasang led in the rebuilding of Sudoam Hermitage.

I had heard a lot of great stuff about this hermitage from Prof. David Mason, so I thought I would explore this little corner of Jirisan National Park.

You first arrive suddenly, through a bend in the road, at Sudoam Hermitage. You’re first greeted by what looks like a fortified brick wall. What actually lies behind it, besides the bending road that leads into the hermitage, are lines of beautiful, lush trees. Finally arriving in the hermitage parking lot, you’ll notice the large monks’ quarters to your immediate right. The only thing that surpasses the size of the monks’ quarters is the mammoth sized parking garage and storage centre straight ahead. It’s past this parking garage that you’ll have to pass by to get to the main hall, the Daeung-jeon Hall, at Sudoam Hermitage.

Turning the corner, you’ll see the beautiful main hall to your left. The golden front façade, with its beautiful golden Nathwi and potted flower latticework, are truly second to none. The exterior walls are adorned with various faded paintings of the Nahan (The Historical Disciples of the Buddha). As you enter the main hall, you’ll be welcomed by a beautiful golden interior. Sitting on the main altar is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined on either side by two standing statues of Munsu-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom) and Bohyun-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Power). To the right and left of this golden main altar are statues and golden reliefs of the sixteen Nahan. On the far left wall is a golden guardian relief, while to the right is a beautiful golden relief of Amita-bul (the Buddha of the Western Paradise). It’s in front of this relief that I saw a picture of the deceased monk Pyeongjeon-hwasang, who put such a great emphasis on the importance of Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), as well as a picture of what looks to be his sari (crystallized earthly remains).

But the real shocker came when I went to explore what was labeled the largest Sanshin-gak in all of Korea. Well, the Sanshin-gak behind the main hall has been converted into a study hall for monks. Also, the tiny shrine to the right rear of the Sanshin-gak is also gone. The only explanation is that it was removed, under a different vision of what the hermitage was supposed to represent, by the new head-monk. I was a little disappointed, to say the least.

HOW TO GET THERE: The only way to get to Sudoam Hermitage is to take a taxi from the Gurye Intercity Bus Terminal. The ride will last about 30 minutes and cost just over 10,000 won. You’ll also need to pay to get into Jirisan National Park, as well, because Sudoam Hermitage is situated within its borders.

OVERALL RATING: 4/10. Without the memorable Sanshin-gak, Sudoam Hermitage is nothing more than a main hall. And while this main hall is impressive in its own right, it’s all that Sudoam Hermitage has to offer the temple adventurer. So if you’re visiting Jirisan National Park, and you’re in the area, I would say explore; otherwise, it’s not worth the effort.


 The amazing view from the Sudoam Hermitage courtyard.


 A look at the main hall and the surrounding halls at the hermitage.


 Just one of the golden Nathwi that adorns the front doors of the main hall.


 Just one of the Buddha paintings that surrounds the exterior walls of the main hall.


 One of the circular Nahan paintings around the base of the exterior walls.


 The golden main altar with Seokgamoni-bul in the centre. He’s flanked on either side by Munsu-bosal and Bohyun-bosal.


 The golden guardian relief to the left.


 Eight of the Nahan that are backed by a couple more golden reliefs.


 A golden relief with Amita-bul front and centre. To the bottom right is a picture of Pyeongjeon-hwasang and possibly a picture of his sari, as well.


 To the left rear is what I hoped was the largest Sanshin-gak in Korea. It turned out to be a newly converted monk study hall.


 The same building with the former Sanshin-gak sign out in front of it. Just behind it, you can see the older tablet shrine dedicated to Sanshin, as well.


 The gorgeous Sanshin painting that used to take up residence in the former Sanshin-gak. It’s whereabouts is unknown.

Cheoneunsa Temple – 천은사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)


 Just one of the fierce looking Heavenly Kings at Cheoneunsa Temple in Jirisan National Park.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Cheoneunsa Temple (“Hidden Spring Temple,” in English), which is located on the southwest section of Jirisan National Park, is said to date back to 828 A.D., when it was established by the Indian monk, Seuru, and a Korean monk, Deokun. The temple was originally called Gamnosa Temple. The temple was later destroyed, like so many other temples in Korea, during the Imjin War (1592-98). The temple was soon rebuilt in 1610, but was destroyed, once more, in 1676. Again, the temple was rebuilt in 1677. This cycle was repeated in 1773, when the temple was damaged, only to be rebuilt in 1775 by monk Hyeam. It’s from this era that the present temple buildings date back to. Currently, there are twenty buildings at Cheoneunsa Temple.

After arriving in the temple parking lot, you’ll make your way up a long pathway that leads you to the Iljumun Gate. Hanging to the left, you’ll hug the neighbouring ravine that runs into a beautiful lake. This ravine eventually takes you to a bridge that is inhabited by a quaint pavilion. A bit further along, and you’ll see the Cheonwangmun Gate up a set of steep stairs. Inside the Cheonwangmun Gate are four of the fiercest and most original four Heavenly Kings that you’ll see in all of Korea. Emerging on the other side of the gate, you’ll see the temple’s bell pavilion to your right and a very unique stone lantern with a stone set of stairs out in front of it.

Up another set of stairs and you’ll finally be in the main temple courtyard. Straight ahead is the main hall at the temple, the Geuknakbo-jeon. The exterior walls are adorned with beautifully simplistic Shimu-do, Ox-herding, murals. Also, there was a large infestation of wasps around the right rear when I visited, so be warned. As for the interior, and sitting on the main altar, is a large seated statue of Amita-bul (The Buddha of the Western Paradise). He’s joined on either side by two standing statues of Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion) and Daesaeji-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Wisdom and Power for Amita-bul).

To the right of the main hall is the Myeongbu-jeon hall, which is dedicated to Jijang-bosal. The exterior walls are rather plain, but they are made up for by the interior. Sitting on the main altar is a stoically seated statue of a green haired Jijang-bosal. And he’s surrounded on both sides by the Ten Kings of the Underworld both in statue and painted forms.

Through a path that leads you past the main hall and the Myeongbu-jeon, you’ll come to a set of stairs that leads you to the upper terrace of buildings at Cheoneunsa Temple. In total, there are four shrine halls that you can enter in this area. The first, and to the far right, is the Nahan-jeon. Inside, and sitting on the main altar, is a statue of Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha). He’s joined by sixteen colourful statues of the Nahan, as well as a set of vibrant paintings of the Nahan.

Next to the Nahan-jeon is the Palsang-jeon hall. Inside this hall are housed eight stunning paintings from Seokgamoni-bul’s, the Historical Buddha’s, life. These paintings inside this hall are equal to the ones that you can find at Beopjusa Temple, Tongdosa Temple, or even Beomeosa Temple.

To the left of the Palsang-jeon hall is the Gwaneeum-jeon. Inside this hall is an extremely elaborate statue of Gwanseeum-bosal. This golden, one thousand armed, Bodhisattva is truly something to behold. The final hall to the far left is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. All three paintings of the shaman deities, Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and Dokseong (The Recluse), are masterfully painted. The double tiger painting of Sanshin is pretty original in its own right.

Admission to the temple, for an adult, is 1,600 won.

HOW TO GET THERE: To get to Cheoneunsa Temple, you’ll first have to get to the city of Gurye. And to get to Gurye from Busan, you’ll first have to get to Nopo Bus Terminal, on line 1, stop # 134. The buses to Gurye from Busan leave 18 times a day, and the trip takes about three hours.

Then from the Gurye Bus Terminal, you can take a bus directly to Cheoneunsa Temple. The bus that goes to the temple leaves 6 times a day. There is a schedule in the bus terminal that tells you the exact time that they leave, but roughly, they leave at: 8:35/10:00/12:20/14:10/16:10/17:30.

And if you visit the neighbouring Hwaeomsa Temple first, you can simply take a taxi to Cheoneunsa Temple. The ride lasts about 15 minutes (or 7.7 km), and the fee should cost about 7,000 won.

OVERALL RATING: 7.5/10. This temple is well populated with shrine halls. Starting with the stunning main hall and making your way up to the second terrace with the beautiful set of halls both with beautiful paintings and statues, and you have more than enough reason to visit the temple that is unfortunately dwarfed by the neighbouring, and much more popular, Ssangyesa Temple and Hwaeomsa Temple. Add into the mix the ferocious Heavenly Kings, the best in Korea, and the beautiful scenery, and you’ll have to add this temple to your list of “must sees” in Jirisan National Park.


The path that leads up to the Iljumun Gate.


A look at the ravine and the pavilion that spans it.


The view of the lake from the bridge pavilion.


A look up at the Cheonwangmun Gate.


Another of the intimidating Heavenly Kings that takes up residence inside the Cheonwangmun Gate.


The stone lantern with a stone staircase out in front of it.


The neighbouring bell pavilion at Cheoneunsa Temple.


The main hall, the Geukrakbo-jeon, and the Myeongbu-jeon, at Cheoneunsa Temple.


Just one, from the set of ten, Shimu-do murals.


The main altar inside the main hall with Amita-bul front and centre.


A look inside the Myeongbu-jeon hall reveals Jijang-bosal.


The upper terrace at the temple that houses four unique shrine halls.


The first is this interior of the Nahan-jeon.


And a look inside the Palsang-jeon hall with the elaborate and vibrant Palsang murals.


Inside the third hall, the Gwaneeum-jeon, are the helpful hands of this elaborate Gwanseeum-bosal statue.


The final hall of the four is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Here is the beautiful painting of Chilseong.


Next to Chilseong hangs this painting of Sanshin.


One final look at the main hall before heading off to my next adventure at Jirisan National Park.

Munsusa Temple – 문수사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)


 The stunning three story pagoda that stands at Munsusa Temple in Jirisan National Park.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Munsusa Temple, which is named after the Bodhisattva of Wisdom – Munsu-bosal, is situated up the long Munsu Valley. It was first constructed on Mt. Jirisan in 547 A.D. by a Buddhist monk named Yeongi. Such famous monks as Wonhyo, Uisang, Seosan, and Samyeong have practiced at this temple. Part of the temple was destroyed during the Imjin War (1592 to 1598), and the rest of the temple was burnt down during the Korean War (1950-1953). It wasn’t until 1984, when the monks’ quarters were built, that the temple started to be re-constructed.

Like any temple’s creation myth, Munsusa Temple has a rather fantasical one of their own. A young monk named Cheongheodang was meditating when an old monk approached Cheongheodang and asked if he could meditate with him. At first, Cheongheodang said no because there wasn’t enough food for two people, but eventually he came around after the old monk earnestly asked him to stay. The two meditated day and night, until one day the old monk threw his staff against the face of the mountain. The staff turned into a yellow dragon, and the old monk rode the dragon into the fog. With this story in mind, Munsusa Temple became known as a place where an individual can attain enlightenment through meditation.

You first arrive at the temple up the long and twisting road that runs its way through Munsu Valley. Finally arriving at the temple parking lot, you’ll gain an amazing view of the rolling peaks of Jirisan National Park. You’ll also pass by probably the most unique temple bathroom in all of Korea. You nearly have to crawl to go to the bathroom because the height of the bathroom’s ceiling is so low. Passing under the arched entrance and by the monks’ living quarters both to your right and left, you’ll finally enter into the temple courtyard.

Right away, you’ll notice the amazingly beautiful three story wooden pagoda straight ahead of you. Inside this beautiful structure sits Seokgamoni-bul on the main altar. To the right of the main altar is a painting of Chilseong (The Seven Stars), and to the left hangs a guardian painting. Out in front of this ornately painted wooden pagoda is a solemn looking stone statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife).

Before seeing the three story wooden pagoda, you’ll first have to pass by a shrine hall that is divided into three sections. Of these three sections, only the middle section is open to the public. This plain wooden building has a handful of statues resting on the main altar including a statue of Seokgamoni-bul.

To the left of the pagoda, and the real highlight to this temple, are the four Asiatic black bears. Inside a red cage, all four black bears are housed. Initially, they had been kept in a cage, then, in 2001, they were given to the temple to be released. It’s unclear as to why they haven’t been released after 12 years, whether it be because they are too used to being fed by humans, or whatever else it might be. But whatever the reason, the bears are still housed at the temple, and they allow for one of the most unique trips you’ll ever take to a Korean temple.

Just up the hill, on an uneven set of stairs, lie three more temple structures. The first, and to the far right, is a meditative hall for monks to look out onto the Jirisan horizon. Straight ahead is the wooden Munsu-jeon hall, which is solely dedicated to Munsu-bosal. Inside sits a beautiful golden statue of the Bodhisattva, as well as a red painting.

Finally, and up the mountain to the left, is the Samseong-gak shaman shrine hall. Inside this hall, rather uniquely, hang only two shaman paintings. Straight ahead is the rather plain looking Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) mural, while to the right is an equally plain Dokseong (The Recluse) painting. However, the view of the Munsu Valley from this height is unsurpassed at the temple.

HOW TO GET THERE: More likely than not, you’ll first arrive at the Gurye Bus Terminal. From here, you’ll need to take a taxi to get to Munsusa Temple, because there’s no direct bus that goes to the temple. From the bus terminal, and to get to Munsusa Temple, it’ll cost about 14,000 won, and the ride will last about 40 minutes. There’s also a trail that leads from Munsusa Temple to Hwaeomsa Temple, so you can pack both into a nice day trip around Jirisan National Park.

크게 보기

OVERALL RATING: 7/10. This is a tough one to rate. If you love bears, perhaps this temple easily becomes a ten out of ten; however, if your thing is temple buildings, then perhaps your rating is a little lower because outside of the wooden pagoda, there really isn’t all that much to enjoy. So splitting it up the relative middle, I thought I would give the temple a seven out of ten. But the things, by far, to be enjoyed at this temple are the four Asiatic black bears and the three story wooden pagoda.


 The entrance to Munsusa Temple.


 The rather quaint bathroom near the entrance of the temple.


 Part of the monk dorms at Munsusa Temple.


 The temple courtyard with the three story pagoda to the left and the main hall to the right.


 Inside the three sectioned main hall, and in the centre, is this bronze statue of Seokgamoni-bul.


 This statue of Seokgamoni-bul sits on the main altar, on the first floor, of the three story pagoda.


 A better look at the amazing pagoda.


 Out in front of the pagoda is this solemn looking statue of Jijang-bosal.


 To the left of the pagoda stands the rather plain looking bell pavilion. Annoyingly, a mother was wrongly telling her son to strike it, while she took pictures of him.


 The cage that houses the four bears.


 A better look at the largest one.


 And another picture of another adult Asiatic black bear.


 Up a set of stairs stands the Munsu-jeon hall.


 Inside sits this very ornate statue of Munsu-bosal.


 A look as you ascend the stairs to get to the Munsu-jeon. A pretty amazing view!


 And the view from the Munsu-jeon hall.


A little further up the hill, and to the left, is the plain looking Samseong-gak.


 In the centre is a painting of Sanshin.


 And to the right is a painting of Dokseong.


 One more amazing view of Jirisan. This time, it’s taken from the Samseong-gak.

Updated: Hwaeomsa Temple – 화엄사 (Gurye, Jeollanam-do)


The beautiful Three-Story Stone Pagoda with Four Lions at Hwaeomsa Temple.

Hello Again Everyone!!

Hwaeomsa Temple, which means “Flower Garland Sutra,” in English, was first founded by Yeon-gi Josa in 544 C.E. The temple was continuously expanded until its total destruction during the Imjin War of 1592. Fortunately for us, it was rebuilt three decades later. And today, it’s one of Korea’s largest and most well respected temples. In total, the temple houses four national treasures.

You first make your way up to the temple along the Hwaeomsa Temple Valley, which neighbours the stunning Masan River. When you finally do arrive at the temple, you’ll be greeted by the two-pillared Iljumun Gate. Stepping through this gate, you’ll next be greeted by Geumgangmun Gate and the Cheonwangmun Gate. Both typify the splendour of these Korean entry gates.

After skirting the Boje-ru Pavilion to the right, you’ll finally enter the temple courtyard. To the far left stand both the Jong-gak, bell pavilion, that has fierce lions surrounding all four corners of the pavilion. It’s joined to the left by the Yeongsan-jeon, which houses eight stunning murals dedicated to the Buddha’s life. In this courtyard, and just before you mount the stares that lead up to the main hall, are two ancient pagodas: Seo-ocheung Pagoda (west-five-story pagoda) and Dongocheung Pagoda (east-five-story pagoda).

Finally climbing the stairs, you’ll come face to face with the main hall at Hwaeomsa Temple, the Daeung-jeon. The weather-worn main hall houses a large triad of statues on the main altar. In the centre sits Birojana-bul (The Buddha of Cosmic Energy). He is joined on either side by Seokgamoni-bul (The Historical Buddha) to the left and Nosana-bul (The Perfect Body Buddha) to the right. These three Buddhas form the different incarnations of the Buddha. The interior to this hall, including the canopy that hangs above the triad of statues on the main altar, is highly elaborate in both its colour and craftsmanship.

To the right of the main hall is the Myeongbu-jeon, which houses a green-haired statue of Jijang-bosal (The Bodhisattva of the Afterlife). Jijang-bosal is accompanied by ten seated statues of the Ten Kings of the Underworld, as well as masterful representations of these kings in painted form. To the left of the main hall, and between the Daeung-jeon and the massive Gakhwang-jeon, are the Wontong-jeon and the Nahan-jeon. The Wontong-jeon houses Gwanseeum-bosal (The Bodhisattva of Compassion). The Nahan-jeon houses both paintings and statues dedicated to the Historical Disciples of the Buddha (The Nahan). And the final shrine hall of the set is the Samseong-gak, which displays a collection of shaman murals dedicated to Chilseong (The Seven Stars), Dokseong (The Lonely Saint), and Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit).

But it’s the Gakhwang-jeon hall that truly stands out architecturally at Hwaeomsa Temple. The two-storied hall dates back to 1699, and it’s one of the largest historic halls in all of Korea. Housed inside this cavernous hall are a set of seven statues along the main hall. Unfortunately, photography is prohibited inside this hall. The massive 6.4 metre tall stone lantern out in front of this hall is designated National Treasure #12.

Another highlight to this temple lies just to the left of the Gakhwang-jeon hall and up a steep set 108 uneven stairs on the hillside. At the top of these stairs lays the Sasaja Samcheung (or the Three-Story Stone Pagoda with Four Lions, in English). This most magnificent, and highly original, pagoda is designated National Treasure #35 for very obvious reasons. The five metre tall granite pagoda has three-tiers on top and four lion-shaped supports at its base. Each lion represents the four primary human emotions: love, sorrow, anger, and joy. At the centre of these lions stands a human figure with hands held to his chest. There are numerous other designs etched onto this pagoda, so take your time and enjoy the intricacies of this pagoda. And just in front of this pagoda is the equally unique stone lantern with a squatting figure at the centre of its base. Some have suggested that this is the founder of the temple kneeling in obedience to his mother.

Admission to the temple is 3,500 won.

HOW TO GET THERE:  From the Gurye Bus Terminal, you can take a direct bus bound for Hwaeomsa Temple. This bus leaves every ten to twenty minutes, and the first bus leaves at 8 a.m. The final bus to the temple leaves at 8:10 p.m. From where the bus lets you off, it’s another 15 to 20 minutes to Hwaeomsa Temple.

OVERALL RATING: 10/10.  For its historical significance alone, Hwaeomsa Temple rates highly amongst Korean temples. But if you add the giant splendor that is Gakhwang-jeon, and the temple rates that much higher. And to top it all off, on the hill stands two of the most uniquely designed pagodas and lanterns in all of Korea.  So if you couldn’t tell already, I highly, highly recommend a visit to Hwaeomsa Temple for both its cultural significance and artistic beauty!

Part of the Hwaeomsa Temple Valley.
The beautiful mountains that surround Hwaeomsa Temple.
The Iljumun Gate that first welcomes you to the temple.
A look inside the Geumgangmun Gate.
 A look towards the Cheonwangmun Gate.
A look inside the Cheonwangmun Gate at just one of the Heavenly Kings.
Both the Jong-gak and Boje-ru Pavilion.
A look towards the main hall and the Nahan-jeon.
Inside the Daeung-jeon during morning prayers.
The elaborate interior to the Myeongbu-jeon.
A look at the main altar inside the Nahan-jeon.
The Chilseong mural inside the Samseong-gak.
And a look at Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit), as well, inside the Samseong-gak.
A look towards the massive, and historic, Gakhwang-jeon.
The massive 6.4 metre tall stone lantern that is National Treasure #12.
A look inside the cavernous Gakhwang-jeon.
One more look before climbing the 108 stairs.
The awe-inspiring Three-story Stone Pagoda with Four Lions.
A closer look inside the base of the pagoda.
And finally, playful tiling adorning the roof of the monks’ living quarters.