Bongeunsa is a temple located in Gangnam. It was founded in 794, although the temples were rebuilt multiple times (they were mostly destroyed during the Korean War, for example). As I’ve already mentioned in previous posts, I’m really fond of these temples despite not being a spiritual person at all. There’s just something I love about the architecture and the calm atmosphere.
So far, I’d definitely put Bongeunsa at the top of my temple list. The temple is quite large and offers a lot to see, starting with the impressive opening gate:
Once inside, you are immediately treated to the spectacular sight of these decorative lanterns above a pathway that leads to the first building.
There are multiple different temples and other sights to explore. I don’t know the first thing about Buddhism, so I’d probably just make a bunch of mistakes trying to describe all of this. Instead, I’ll just let the pictures speak for themselves.
The temple is located on a small hill, which also means that you can get some great views of the facilities and the sprawling cityscape of Gangnam in the background.
A key attraction of the temple is a large Buddha statue that is located near the top of the facilities:
Another bonus: Stray cats!
On top of that, Bongeunsa also offers a temple life program where visitors are introduced to typical activities like making lanterns and tea ceremonies, as well as an overnight temple stay to get the full temple experience. Definitely something I’m interested to try at some point. Maybe not at Bongeunsa, but then again, there is no shortage of temples in Seoul.
So far, I’d definitely put Bongeunsa at the top of my temple list. This is definitely something you should go out of your way to visit, can’t recommend it highly enough.
Update – May 16th:
I revisited Bongeunsa in the evening of March 14th, which is Buddha’s birthday. As a result, the temple held some celebratory events and was very crowded. This definitely created a very different atmosphere from my first visit.