Korea Travel

Bulguksa Temple


On a torrentially wet Wednesday morning I headed for Bulguksa Temple in Gyeongju. “It is home to seven National treasures of South Korea, including Dabotap and Seokgatap stone pagodas, Cheongun-gyo (Blue Cloud Bridge), and two gilt-bronze statutes of Buddha. The temple is classified as Historic and Scenic Site No. 1 by the South Korean government. In 1995, Bulguksa was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List together with the Seokguram Grotto [that I visited in the afternoon], which lies four kilometres to the east. The temple is considered as a masterpiece of the golden age of Buddhist art in the Silla kingdom.”


One thing which immediately catches the eye swastika-looking insignia all over the buildings. These of course have nothing to do with the Nazi’s who stole and adapted the symbol from Hindu/Buddhist traditions. Swastika’s can be seen on Dharmic based religious buildings across Korea – the symbol does not hold the same taboo that it does in the west.


The stone pagodas are of particular historical importance (part of one of them resides in the British Museum!!) and reflect a story in the Lotus sutra. The left hand one (in the photo) is depicted on the obverse of the 10 won coin.


I’ve always thought that there is something very beautiful about these sorts of temples in the rain. More photos here.


Originally from the UK, David is designer and wanderer currently based in Kamakura. Prior to this, he lived in China and still returns frequently to continue exploring this vast and varied land. He started Randomwire in 2003 to chronicle his travels and occasional musings. Feel free to drop him a line.

2 Comments Add New Comment

  1. SirSteven says:

    wow, i’ve also been here; so it was a nice surprise to stumble upon the photos. I’d even forgotten the name of this place. I went back in 2001, which was unfortunately before I had a digital camera (or, indeed, a blog).

    1. David says:

      Cool, it’s amazing to think how blogs and digital cameras have changed the way we consume media in less than 10 years. I can’t quite imagine life without them now!

      I’d like to visit Gyeongju again one day – it rained almost non-stop when I went in 2007 so wasn’t ideal travelling weather…

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