If you remember the entry about Gyeong Ju from a month ago, you will probably remember how beautiful it is. I have been wanting to go, and this weekend I finally did. My friend Jose and I went to Bulguk-sa Temple and Seokguram Grotto.
You've probably noticed that I love the temple protectors. I think they are intricate and amazing, but especially love how each temple's are different. This little girl did a full bow, and it was the cutest thing in the world.
Bulguk-sa has seven of the National Treasures in Korea and is considered the capstone of the golden era of Buddhism in the Silla Empire. It has two golden Buddhas (not pictured, as they didn't allow cameras there).
There are two "bridges," this is one. Both are considered National Treasures.
This is a giant drum set on a huge turtle.
Two more National Treasures are the stone pagodas. Seokgotap is on the left, and is rather simple. It was constructed with a 4:3:2 ratio. The intricate top pillar with lotus flowers was added in 1973 to match Dabotap which is on the right, and is much more complex. This style was seldom featured outside of Korea. This pagoda is also featured on the 100 won coin (similar to a dime).
I am amazed by traditional Korean roofs. I really hope this picture enlarges when you click on it, because the layering of the roofs is beautiful.
Both places we went to were an UNESCO World Heritage Site. There are about 900 in the world, and 10 in Korea.
This is the view from the Grotto: it is beautiful.
The fields you can see are for step farming, which is pretty common in Korea, but hasn't ceased to impress me. I'm hoping to go to the Green Tea Fields in the spring and see the step farms all the way up the mountain.
There were no pictures allowed inside the temple within the Grotto, so I found this one online. It does not do the Buddha justice. It is entirely granite and is 3.5 meters high. When it was constructed it, there were only mountain paths to the Grotto. There are granite wall panels that are intricately constructed as well, including 12 protectors that I was sorely tempted to photograph! Buddha is sitting a position that is supposed to be him at the moment of enlightenment.
Jose at the highest temple in the Grotto. He was nice enough to get me on base and let me buy extra sheets, towels, silverware, and bathroom stuff at American standards and prices. Also, there is a taco bell on base. Needless to say, it was a wonderful weekend.