Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
After welcoming 2017 on Busan’s Haeundae Beach, we headed to Haedong Yonggungsa Temple, the city’s most famous. Welcome to week 311 (1/19/2017) of Travel Photo Thursday.
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Haedong Yonggungsa Temple
Located in the north-eastern part of Busan, The Water Temple as it’s sometimes known is one of the unique temples in Korea. The majority of the country’s temples are in the mountains, but Haedong Yonggunga Temple overlooks the East Sea. Built by the great monk Naong, the temple dates back to 1376. Destroyed by fire during the Japanese invasion it was rebuilt again in the 1930s and was repainted in 1970. Because of the temple’s motto “At least one of your wishes will be answered here through your heartful prayers.” many Koreans visit on New Years Day to make wishes for a lucky year ahead.
If you arrive at the temple by public transportation (bus 181), you’ll be walking up a rather steep road for 10 -15 minutes. A taxi can take you directly to the entrance, where the first thing you’ll encounter is this pagoda.
I laughed when I saw the sign at the base of the pagoda ‘Traffic Safety Prayer Pagoda.’ Considering the number of traffic accidents in this country (one of the highest in the industrialized world) the prayers don’t seem to be working.
Visitors enter the temple through this intricately painted archway flanked by golden lions. Visiting on New Years Day meant crowds of people visiting to make customary new year wishes for good luck. I waited for the exact moment to take this shot.
Many make their wishes here and throw coins with the hope that they will land in one of the large bowls. My coins came close enough that I’m positive 2017 is my lucky year. 🙂
The colors and the detail are a feast for the eyes.
Colorful lanterns decorate the main building ceiling.
Standing and gazing at these intricately painted dragons on the outside temple wall it’s easy to imagine these mystical beasts defending the temple from the plundering of early invaders.
Around the base of the dragon are hundreds of these gaily painted monk figurines.
Many visitors pay their respects to the laughing Buddha.
The hypnotic chanting of a temple monk in one of the smaller temple buildings helped me to forget the crowds momentarily.
And of course, we have the stunning sea views with the winter sun beaming down to give the water these beautiful blue hues.
Haedong Yonggungsa Temple is open daily from 5 am. You can catch bus 181 at exit 7 Haeundae Beach Subway (line 2) for the 25-minute ride to the temple (the stop is announced) plus 10-15 minutes to walk to the entrance. If you want to avoid the hill, a taxi is your best bet. Admission is free.
New Years Day is particularly crowded, so go early. I want to go back again when it isn’t as crowded so that I can see some of the things I missed.
Have you ever visited a temple on New Years Day? Let us know in the comments.
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