Monday, December 3, 2012

[Tour/Press Article] Seobu DaeSeongsa Temple

Seobu DaeSeongsa Temple

Korea has an abundance of temples and after visiting some of the most famous ones you can suffer from temple fatigue thinking you've seen all there is to see. Daegu is home to some prominent ones along Mt Palgong such as Donghwasa, Buinsa, Pagyesa, as well as nearby Haeinsa outside the city and Bulguksa in Gyeongju. However, just when you think you've seen all there is to see I discovered another Daegu city temple with its own unique style distinct from the many other temples I've seen.

Situated in the south end of the city close to Duryu Park and Seobu Bus Terminal I saw a striking large complex on the cityscape as my bus was heading to the DMOE local school board office. I walked back from the school board to explore the complex.

The complex is a large colourful three story structure with detailed paintings all around its exterior. Its most striking feature is a cylindrical structure which juts out from one corner.

This in fact turned out to be a spiral staircase leading up to the main prayer hall on the third floor of the main complex. What is more interesting is the staircase is beautifully decorated on every wall surface including the ceiling with elaborate artwork winding its way through every flight of stairs.

The staircase artwork is angled to provide stunning views both when you go up and come back down. It continues down to the basement level where there is a cafeteria. Temples usually serve free meals but I didn't check in this case.

From the main prayer hall I noticed a side building not visible from the main complex. To reach here you have to walk around the outside wall and enter again from the street next door. This building is a similar large structure with its own dimly lit prayer hall.

Finally back in the main complex is a smaller traditional one story temple style building housing more interesting artwork. Aside from the beautifully detailed main shrine there is also a hanging gold dragon and flying angel musicians.

I had actually come the back way to the temple from my bus route and the DMOE office. However, its easy to reach from Duryu Park or Seongdangmot Subway when I later looked on a map.

So no need to give up on exploring temples, there's still plenty more to see and discover!

See also Songnimsa Temple on the city's northern border

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