Ibike Korea People-to-People Program

   
 

   

Photo essay: Sangwonsa to Woljeongsa and Jeongseon

    (40mi, 65km) Valleys and gorges – all beautiful – two modest hills.
Points of Interest Woljeongsa (temple) and museum, several small temples, cemetery of monks, folk village
  Road between Sangwonsa and Woljeongsa squirrel crossing, KoreaDescending from Sangwonsa, we had a final 9 km of dirt road, often near the river side.  This section of dirt was better maintained that the other side of the mountain.  Appealing to the heart strings, there were a couple of "squirrel crossings" (right) or squirrel bridge.  Besides a sign, there is a rope bridge suspended four meters up, across the road. 
  Stupas of Woljeongsa Twenty stupa are grouped in this area.  A stupa is a pagoda where ashes or remains of Buddhist saints or monks are placed.  Most of these stupa are bell-shaped, but one is circular and it stands on a double podium, capped with a roof stone.  The decoration on the stupa indicate that most were dedicated to monks that lived in the area during the latter part of the Joseon Dynasty.
  Woljeongsa bridge, Korea bridge with zodiac animal figures, WoljeongsaWhen the road stops dropping so much you arrive at Woljeongsa (temple).  You can access it over an ornate bridge. The posts are capped by animals of the Korean zodiac. 

The Korean zodiac is derived from the Chinese zodiac.  According to legend, the Jade Emperor invited the animals of his kingdom to enter a race through the countryside.  The first 12 to finish the long race would each rule over one year every 12 years.  The 12 animals are: rat, ox, tiger, rabbit, dragon, snake, horse, sheep, monkey, rooster, dog and pig.  Each zodiac animal brings it own personality and characteristics to the year.

  Woljeongsa gate

Chenwangum gate honors the four Devas, Woljeongsa

Chenwangum gate honors the four Devas, Woljeongsa

Weoljeongsa gateTo enter the temple you must pass through colorful gates that welcome the faithful and are intended to keep out the evil.

The Chenwangum (Woljeongsa) gate honors the four Devas. Though of Hindu origins, as devotees of Buddha, these figures guard Buddhist cannons and are the protective deities over monks and the faithful.  The Jiguk Deva (lute) rules over the east, the Gwangmok Deva (dragon) over the west, the Jeungjang Deva (sword) over the south and the Damun Deva (pagoda) over the north.  At the center of the four quarters is Sumisan.  Sumisan is where Buddha lives -- a temple is symbolic of Sumisan, therefore, if one passes this gate he or she is likely to enter the world of Buddha.

Jiguk Deva (lute) rules over the east, Woljeongsa Gwangmok Deva (dragon) over the west, Woljeongsa Jeungjang Deva (sword) over the south, Woljeongsa Damun Deva (pagoda) over the north, Woljeongsa

   

Demon under foot of Gwangmok Deva, WoljeongsaDemon under foot of Gwangmok Deva, WoljeongsaDemons are trampled under foot of the Devas.

  Woljeongsa Woljeongsa was built by Jajangyulsa, a renowned monk, in 645, in the 15th year of Queen Sundok.  It is the head temple in charge of many branch temples in the Odae Mountains and Gangweon-do.
  Weoljeongsa octagonal nine story stone pagoda Woljeongsa octagonal nine story stone pagoda. It is built in a style that was popular during the early Goryeo period, especially in the northern region of Korea.  The thin body, the curved corners, the doorframe on the tower body and the variations in the octagonal shape are illustrations of the unique aspects of Goryeo Buddhist culture.  A figure of Bodhisattva sits in front of the pagoda.Stacked stone pagoda, Woljeongsa

It is not uncommon to see a collection of do-it-yourself stacked-stone-pagoda around temples.  There are are a number of explanation for the exercise; meditation, oneness in motion, each stone is a wish for good fortune for the builder or their family member or other relative, to feel compassion, etc.

  bell / drum pavilion, Woljeongsa Major temples have a bell / drum pavilion.  There are four bells.  The large bronze bell calls all creatures.  The hide covered drum calls animals of the land.  The wooden fish-shaped slit drum calls the creatures of the water.  And, the flat metal cloud-shaped bell calls the spirits and animals of the sky.  This are played before prayers.
  Woljeongsa Monk quietly ready themselves outside their rooms to go to prayers, in the morning light.  In this area, senior monks wear gray robes and novices wear brown robes. Woljeongsa
  Shoes at the door of the main temple, Woljeongsa Shoes at the door of the main temple, WoljeongsaWhile the monks are in pray their simple shoes are lined up outside the door. The shoes of other visitors have a whole different look  Among other differences, the slippers of the monks are pointed away from the door and the shoes of the visitor remain as they were left when the owners stepped out of them..
  Women Buddhist Monks, Woljeongsa Bhuddhist monks, WoljeongsaFemale monks (left) and male monks (right) emerge after prayers and return to the housing area.
  Temple stay program, Woljeongsa Temple stay program meal, WoljeongsaWoljeongsa has a very active program for temple stays.  Participants participate in temple live including prayer, meditation, bows and meals.
  writing on roof tile, Woljeongsa monk on cell phone, WoljeongsaJan (left) dedicates a roof tile to the bicycle group and ask Buddha's blessing during the journey.  The tile will become part of the temple restoration where it might remain for centuries.

For some reason it is intriguing to see monks using technology.  This monk (right) is using a cell phone.

  harvesting carrots, Jinbu, Korea harvesting onions, Jinbu, Korea Produce stand, Jinbu, KoreaFresh produce is being harvested and sold on the road side near Jinbu. These photos show carrots, onions, cabbages and assorted other local crops.
  harvesting onions, Jinbu, Korea harvesting onions, Jinbu, KoreaFor a good distance before we arrived at this farm it was clear what was being harvested -- onion.  A large work crew was working at several points on the farm harvesting, bundling and loading trucks with onions.
  Children bicycle, Jinbu These kids, in Jinbu, seem to be out for a recreation ride.  They were very disciplined at getting off there bikes to cross roads as they road across town.  Kids took advantage of the various forms of grade separated bicycle facilities a lot.
  Relaxing on the roadside Cyclist sunning on the side of the road.  As is the custom in South Korea, the rock in the background is etched with the name of the location.  Edge rocks and steele are found at intersections and frequently along the road.  The announce place names, recount history and record the lives of people -- one might say, "everything is carved in stone."
  A small temple and collection of monuments remembering people and history.
  South of Jinbu, mother nature has been rearranging the valley, and the road at the same time.  Large chunks of asphalt roadway and concrete retaining walls lie on the now bone dry river bed.  Clearly, a few months earlier it must have been a raging torrent.  Mental note: It is best not to bike tour in narrow river valleys, in Korea, in the monsoon season.
  Stocks in the field Stocks stacked in the fields.  The disciplined land use is phenomenal; once again, the farms only go to the base of the hills and then the forests begin.
  mountain stream Up river the flat agricultural valley give way to narrower gorges and mountain streams, in the constantly changing landscape.
  collects water from a mountain spring A family collects water from a mountain spring.
  Red pepper plants Red peppers dryingOn the left is a field of red peppers.  On the right are pepper drying.
  train A local train works it way through the mountains -- another element in Koreas "transportation choices" infrastructure..  Because of the mountainous terrain in Gangwon-do some of the engineering for the railroad is pretty spectacular, involving switch-backs.
  Herbs in Jeongseon market Kimchi in Jeongseon marketWe were lucky to arrive in Jeongseon on the day of the five day market.  These photos show herbs and kimchi, but there were also fish, produce, cloths, house wares, antiques, and a wide variety of there products available from the vendors.
  oak bark roof house, Arari Village, Jeongseon

thatch roof house, Arari Village, Jeongseon

traditional Korean whole log house, Arari Village, Jeongseon

water wheel, Arari Village, Jeongseon

tile roof house, Arari Village, JeongseonOne of the attractions in Jeongseon is Arari Village, a exhibits and demonstrations of a rural village, houses and ways-of-life, in the Joseon Dynasty period.  The traditional houses differed mostly in there choice of roofing material (oak bark (upper left), slate rock, tile (right) and thatch (middle left)).  A home owners choice of roofing material seemed to be largely dependent upon their economic position.  The wealthy would chooseinterior of traditional Korean house, Arari Village, Jeongseon slate and tile. There is also some variation in wall materials, but seemingly less so, an example being whole log construction (middle left).  The rooms in the house were equipped so you could see how a traditional bedroom, study and kitchen looked (right).  Other exhibits showed tradition shops and crafts.  And there is a working water wheel (lower left) set up to pound grain.  While there weren't any other obviously foreign visitors during ourkitchen in traditional Korean house, Arari Village, Jeongseon visit, there were plenty of Koreans enjoying the sunny afternoon and displays, and make photo-memories of their visit (below).

visitors taking pictures of their visit, Arari Village, Jeongseon vent for ondol heated flow system, Arari Village, Jeongseon

     
 

Sangwonsa Taebaek

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