Category: Palgongsan National Park


Sunday, May 16:  Today, I go on a field trip with the teachers from Chojeon Elementary School to explore Palgongsan National Park.

Palgongsan Natural Park is centered around Palgongsan Mountain, one of the larger mountains (1.2km high) in the Taebaek mountain range. Palgongsan Mountain is located 20km northeast from downtown Daegu, where the Nakdonggang River and Geumhogang River meet. The mountain has three peaks in a row: Birobong Peak, in the center, with Dongbong and Seobong on either side.

The Chojeon Elementary School teachers beginning our day trip to Palgongsan National Park

The Chojeon Elementary School teachers beginning our day trip to Palgongsan National Park

The park has numerous rocks and valleys and is carpeted with azaleas in the spring. In the autumn many visitors flock to the park to admire the falls leaves on the trees lining the 16.3km-long road through the park (Visit Korea: Daegu > Dong-gu > Palgongsan National Park (Gatbawi District)).

Our first destination is the Bangjja Yugi Museum, at the foot of Palgongsan Mountain.  However, when we arrive, we find the museum is closed.  Oh well, so much for great planning.  This is the first museum in Korea to specialize in brass ware. The museum was founded with the goal of preserving the delicate art of Bangjja Yugi (Korean brass ware) and to educate future generations on the meticulous crafting process (Visit Korea: Daegu City Tours).

Since the museum is closed, we wander around the perimeter of the parking lot.  Here, we find two places that sell statues and sculptures. One of them sells normal statues like lions, Buddhas and other Korean-related things.

other rock sculptures

other rock sculptures

rock sculpture

rock sculpture

me with the rock sculptures

me with the rock sculptures

fun-loving rock sculptures

fun-loving rock sculptures

Coffee-J drinking his favorite beverage at the sculpture garden

Coffee-J drinking his favorite beverage at the sculpture garden

The other one has an array of penis-shaped statues. Some of them are a few meters tall!  My Korean co-teachers tell me that these phallic symbols are a great symbol of power and statues such as these are thought to offer protection from evil spirits.

phallic statues at Palgongsan National park

phallic statues at Palgongsan National park

statues at Palgongsan National Park, South Korea

statues at Palgongsan National Park, South Korea

more rock sculptures

more rock sculptures

the principal of Chojeon Elementary School, me and the sculptor who lives on site

the principal of Chojeon Elementary School, me and the sculptor who lives on site

Palgongsan Mountain is considered the center of Buddhist culture in Korea. The mountain offers plenty of things to see all year round thanks to the knots of trees and scenic rocks and valleys that cover the mountain. Treasured not only for its natural beauty, the mountain also hides within its folds a number of old temples and historic sites from the Silla Dynasty (57 BC – 935 AD) (Visit Korea: Daegu City Tours).

We take the Palgongsan Cable Car, which runs 1.2.km from the base of Palgongsan Mountain to an 800m elevation (Visit Korea: Palgongsan Cable Car).

the Palgongsan Cable Car

the Palgongsan Cable Car

views from the Palgongsan Cable Car

views from the Palgongsan Cable Car

Palgongsan Cable Car

Palgongsan Cable Car

At the top of the Palgongsan Cable Car

At the top of the Palgongsan Cable Car

me at the top of the cable car with two tall & skinny friends

me at the top of the cable car with two tall & skinny friends

me with a view of Mt. Palgong

me with a view of Mt. Palgong

Atop Mt. Palgong

Atop Mt. Palgongsan

atop Mt. Palgongsan

atop Mt. Palgongsan

We stop for some tea and snacks at the cable car restaurant.

some of my Korean co-teachers at the cable car restaurant

some of my Korean co-teachers at the cable car restaurant

more of my Korean co-teachers

more of my Korean co-teachers

Then we walk up to a Buddhist temple or hermitage, but I’m not sure which one it is as there are so many in these mountains.

Buddhist hermitage (?) all decked out for Buddha's birthday

Buddhist hermitage (?) all decked out for Buddha’s birthday

Colorful Buddhist hermitage

Colorful Buddhist hermitage

Buddhist hermitage

Buddhist hermitage

Coffee-J and a Buddhist pavilion

Coffee-J and a Buddhist pavilion

me and the Buddhist pavilion

me and the Buddhist pavilion

the Buddhist hermitage

the Buddhist hermitage

Finally, after our little day trip, we go to a Korean restaurant for a group dinner.   A fun full day on Mt. Palgongsan. 🙂

heading to a Korean restaurant for dinner

heading to a Korean restaurant for dinner

 

 

Saturday, May 1:  Today I venture out on my own to visit Donghwasa Temple. one of the most well-known temples in Daegu.  This is my first time since I arrived in March that I go on an excursion all by myself.

Entrance to Donghwasa Temple

Entrance to Donghwasa Temple

Entering Donghwasa Temple

Entering Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

lanterns decorating Donghwasa Temple

lanterns decorating Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple (동화사) sits on the south side of Mt. Palgongsan, about 22km northeast of Daegu. It was built by monk Geuk-Dal in the 15th year of the Silla King SoJi’s reign (493).  The original name of the temple was Yugasa, but Simjiwangsa rebuilt the temple under King HeungDeok (reign 826~836) and named it Donghwasa.  It means even during the winter, the paulownia tree still blooms.  The present temple was last rebuilt in 1732, according to the Official Site of Korea Tourism.

lanterns at Donghwasa Temple

lanterns at Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

part of Donghwasa Temple

part of Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

It’s a lovely spring day and I enjoy walking all around the grounds of the temple.  The atmosphere is peaceful yet festive, with all the colorful lanterns strung everywhere.  Maybe this is in preparation for Buddha’s birthday at the end of May.

the grounds of Donghwasa Temple

the grounds of Donghwasa Temple

path at Donghwasa Temple

path at Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa Temple

Donghwasa’s Daeungjeon is segmented into 3 sections at the front and side, and its natural looking pillars are one of its main attractions.  I come upon the huge Seokjoyaksa Yeoraebul.  Created as a prayer for reunification, this large Buddha statue is 17m high. The stone tower, stone light, the lion statue, and the lotus flower that decorate the Buddha statue are all very large in size. Behind the statue are also stones arranged in a circular form resembling a beautiful scroll painting.  (Visit Korea: Donghwasa Temple)

Seokjoyaksa Yeoraebul

Seokjoyaksa Yeoraebul

me at Donghwasa Temple

me at Donghwasa Temple

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