Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple are religious monuments and masterpieces of Far Eastern Buddhist art.
is a hermitage that is part of the Bulguksa temple complex. The grotto overlooks the Sea of Japan (East Sea) and rests 750 meters above sea level. It holds some of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world, including the main Buddha. Construction lasted from 742 to 774.
The nearby Bulguksa Temple
is the most famous Buddhist temple in Korea and the home to a number of important relics from the Silla period, including most obviously the two stone pagodas Tabot'ap and Sokkat'ap. It also dates from the 8th century, but has been rebuilt on a number of occasions.
The Temple was added to the nomination on the advice of ICOMOS.
Visit September 2001
Pulguksa Temple is one of the main points of interest in the Gyongyu-area, so it was full of (Korean) tourists. A picturesque place.
The Buddha in Sokkuram Grotto is a very delicate one. Three meters high, and very white. Unfortunately you can only see it from a distance (behind glass). Photos are not allowed.
|Thibault Magnien (France):|
Seokguram Grotto and Bulguksa Temple form one of the most famous site in South Korea.
Bulguksa is a Buddhist temple completed in 774 by kings of Silla Kingdom (located in Gyeongju). The complex has been destroyed, and rebuilt in 1604. It has been renovated several times since there. It is home to seven National treasures of South Korea, whose the two famous stone pagodas (Dabotap and Seokgatap).
The Seokguram Grotto, is located four kilometers to the east, on the hill. You can go there from the temple either by walk through a beautiful forest way, hiking the hill, or by bus. The hiking will take you almost one hour but the frame worth it. The Grotto is almost located at the top of the hill, 750 meters above sea level.
As in the entrance of Bulguska temple, The Four Heavenly Kings guard the corridor.
Its construction began in 742 and was completed in 774. The Buddha statue it welcomes exemplifies one of the best Buddhist sculptures in the world. The Japan sea is visible from this place when clouds are not too present.
| Date posted: April 2012|
|Ian Cade (England):|
These two sites were a rather pleasant way to start my exploration of South Korea. I started at the small Seokguram Grotto, I was impressed by the quality of the carving inside. It is very small but of a high quality, reminding me of my visit the previous year to Ellora. After this brief viewing it was a lovely stroll back down to Bulguksa, the 2,5km walk led me through some lovely forests which were starting to show the first colours of autumn.
Bulguksa was a pleasant temple to walk around with some fine examples of wooden architecture and some rather lovely painted panels. There were lots of Korean children running around and practicing their English on me which was nice, but it was also easy enough to get a little peace and quiet when I needed to by sloping off to the other side of the tranquil ponds dotted around the sanctuary.
These were a lovely way to start my WHS collection in Korea, and an easy and worthwhile afternoon trip from Gyongju.
[Site 5: Experience 6]
| Date posted: November 2011|
|Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):|
This review is made after my second visit to one of most outstanding temple in South Korea, Bulguksa Temple and its nearby Seokguram Grotto which in my opinion one of the must see World Heritage Site in this country. I still remember my first visit in late spring 2008, Mount Tohamsan, where the temple complex is located, was in full bloom of spring color with hundreds of paper lantern decorating for the upcoming Lord Buddha’s Birthday festival. I visited Seokguram by taxi from the city of Gyeongju, the tiny grotto was very popular for tourists and I had to queue to see the famous Buddha statue. The statue claimed to be the best for Korean art but it was behind the glass scene with some bad light reflection, so hardly to admire this great work.
After Seokguram I decided to hike down to Bulguksa Temple, the hiking path was lovely, highly recommended, the forest was full of maple trees, the autumn must be very gorgeous, I even told my friend that one day I want to come back to see autumn foliage at Bulguksa Temple. When I reached the temple, which is considered as one of the three most important temple in the country representing the Lord Buddha, I was quite shocked to see hundreds of tourists in the temple, I hardly had time to appreciate the temple, that why I much preferred Haeinsa, another WHS temple of Korea.
But in late summer 2011, I had a chance to revisit Bulguksa, and this time the atmosphere was totally different, the temple was much less crowded; maybe most of locals went to see the Cultural Expo which hold in nearby Bomunho Lake. I had more time to appreciate the art of the temple and agreed that Bulguksa was in the same league of other famous East Asia Buddhist temple in China or Japan. The highlights of the temple were its unique stone stairway and two lovely pagodas, both were built during Silla Kingdom. Although the authenticity of the temple is quite disputable, as the temple has been destroy many times and the current structure is the result of archeologists’ imagination forty years ago. But I have to admit that the restoration did really good and the temple became a masterpiece of architecture with countless details for admiration, and made me curious what Gyeongju looked like during its peak time. All in all, I really enjoyed my second time in Bulguksa Temple; it is the place to fascinate the Korean art better than any other temple in South Korea. As I mentioned I hope one day I will have a chance to see the temple during autumn foliage, revisit Bulguksa for the third time is still a welcome idea for me.
| Date posted: October 2011|
|Kyle Magnuson (United States of America):|
A trip to Gyeonju is not complete without a visit to these two Buddhist treasures. Seokguram Grotto is a masterpiece of Silla Artistry, while Bulguksa is one of the best Buddhist temples in Korea. I visited both sites twice in 2008, both during Winter and Summer. I enjoyed both trips. Korea in general is often overlooked in favor of China or Japan concerning sights. Look a little deeper into Korea, you might not only be suprised, but happy you travelled to a destination that is so rich in cultural heritage.
| Date posted: March 2010|
|Jefferey Banks ():|
hello im a world traveler from milwaukee, and i've been to the grotto. it is a great place, and i really enjoyed myself. the only down sid eis that the statue of buddha is behind glass, and no cameras allowed.
| Date posted: March 2006|
I have spent time at Bulguk-sa on two occasions, one winter evening in 2003 and one gorgeous wunny day in 2004. It left me feeling peaceful. I have spent time at Tongdo-sa and walked away with the same feelings of inner peace and tranquility. I visit Korea frequently and make a point of spending time at as many shrines and temples as possible. Bulguk-sa is my personal favourite. It is a testament to the Zen tradition and to the rich heritage of the Korean culture. It is picturesque and exquisite. Sokkurum is also beautiful but brace yourself for a wild bus ride up the mountain (walking is probably less scary)!!!! I would urge anyone visiting Korea to visit Bulguk-sa, Haein-sa and Tongdo-sa. They encapsulate the Zen faith and Korea.
|Ralph Zema (USA):|
To understand Korea, you had better visit one its Buddhist temples and Pulguksa is one of the most beautiful. The grounds are lovely and serene and there are areas where one can easily meditate and pray. Temple buildings are colorful and lavashly decorated. (I remember the temple complex being remarkably quiet and visitors were respectful and reverent while touring.) The stone pagodas, unique to Korea, are strange and mystic. And the Sokkuram Grotto is a remarkable site for people of all faiths. (Too bad its behind glass.) This is a wonderful place to visit while in the Kyongyu vicinity.
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