Yongmunsa Temple and King Sejong’s Tomb

Yongmunsa Temple was built during the Silla Dynasty and reconstructed during the reign of King Sejong of the Joseon Dynasty.  King Sejong, however, is best known for creating Hangeul, the Korean alphabet.

The Iljumun gate at the beginning of the trail to the temple

The trail is lined by colorful lanterns.
There must be some cultural significance to these rockpiles, because they’re everywhere along the trail!

Asia’s largest gingko tree, which is about 1100 years old, is 60m tall, 14m in circumference, and is designated as a natural monument.  Legend says the great Buddhist monk Uisang, who lived during the Silla Dynasty, stuck his staff in the earth, and the tree grew out of the simple staff.

The most interesting headstone in the temple cemetary

The pagoda containing both...

...the temple bell--those are people’s legs sticking out of the bottom--and...

...the temple drum.  I love the dragon!

Some of the exquisitely painted detail

One of the smaller shrines

The altar inside

The local monks (I assume) put on a show that included dancing dragons...

...drumming, and martial arts/acrobatics.  To see a video of some drumming, click here.

The Daeungjeon (main) temple

Nearby is a monument to the soldiers who died fighting in the area during the Korean War

An interesting sculpture in the parking area

Even the entrance gate is elaborately decorated!

A sign along the road to King Sojong’s tomb.  I believe the picture is a replica of one showing King Sojong presenting Hangeul to the people.

A memorial to King Sojong
Outside the small exhibition hall are a bunch of replicas of astronomic devices developed during the period of King Sejong’s reign.

The Hongsalmun, signifying the entrance to sacred territory.  The arrows signify the integrity of the law and the sovereignty of the state.

The Jeongjagak, so named because it is shaped like the Chinese letter jeong (I don’t see it myself).  It is used for memorial services.
A stone containing the name of the tomb occupant and his accomplishments.  (In this case, it also contains the name of Queen Soheon, as she is also buried in the same tomb with King Sejong.)
Some of the stone officials--military (left) and civilian--protecting the tomb

The burial mound

At the same site, a short distance away through the trees,
are the tombs of King Hyojong and Queen Inseon.

The bridge over the Forbidden Stream, which serves as a boundary
between the sacred and secular realms.  This one is unique in that
it is inside the sacred area instead of in front of the Hongsalmun gate.

The tombs of King Hyojong (left) and Queen Inseon
An unusual drum in the exhibition hall.  There were a lot of interesting instruments, documents, and paintings; however, I realized shortly after these--based on how the attendant was staring at me--that I wasn’t supposed to be taking pictures.  (I wasn’t the only one, though.)

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Last updated 11 November 2012