Wednesday, 20 May 2009

Bulguksa Temple, Gyeongju Korea

We were passing by the Gyeongju area. Almost everywhere even by the roadside, you could see round tombs, some small, some big. All these burial moulds are those of past Kings or high ranking officials. The bigger a shot you were, the bigger the mould. Some tombs have been excavated to discover delicate golden crowns, glassware, accessories, antiques and paintings.

Bulguksa Temple ("Temple of Buddha Land") is one of the most famous temples in Korea and is a UNESCO world heritage site. It was such a beauty the structures and peaceful surroundings.

The temple complex is entered via a double-sectioned staircase and bridge. The staircase has a 45-degree slope and a total of 33 steps, corresponding to the 33 steps to enlightenment. The Tabotap Pagoda (top right photo) used to store relics but were lost by Japanese colonialists in 1925. I like this shot of the rustic wooden temple doors (bottom left photo).

Kwanumjon Hall is the Hall of Avalokitesvara. I liked all the delicate and colourful designs of the roof tiles. At the backyard, notice the piles of rocks being stacked all over the place? In Korea, stones are believed to have unseen powers They like to stack stones on top of each other, but using ancient skills and understanding, they are arranged in a beautiful manner. A prayer will be said as the rock is put on the pile. By attaching a stone to another rock's surface is a better chance of having your prayer answered. Hence the stack of rocks can become very high. I tried to take artistic shots of the temple with my limited skills. Taeungjon Hall enshrines the Shakyamuni Buddha. I had to strain to take a shot of the 16 arhats inside one hall which was condoned off. It was a little too dark. The serenity of the temple was beautiful.

This was my favourite shot of the temple and managed to catch a monk walking by. It is the back of the Museoljeon (Hall of No Words), named for the belief that Buddha's teachings cannot be taught by mere words alone.

Outside the temple, were hawkers peddling food like hot dogs, corn, rice cakes, ice cream, some fish cakes, and they were very clean. There was an ajima selling all sorts of knick knacks on her mobile cart. Kinda reminds me of our street hawkers in the 1970s-80s peddling household stuff on their tricyles.

Once again, I loved the colours of Autumn.

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