Tongdosa Temple in Yangsan, Gyeongsangnam-do

We left Seoul at 10:00am on Friday morning on the KTX bound for Ulsan in Gyeongsangnam-do. It takes a little more than 2 hours on the train and I made sure I got myself a cup of coffee before getting on the train.
No, this is not the real ticket

The KTX is actually very comfortable and I also discovered that the train has free wifi (yey for those like me to refuse to get a data plan because Seoul has wifi almost anywhere anyway).  While stopping on some of the major stations along the way, I looked out the window and just saw a regular platform devoid of people. I took this shot just out of boredom. I didn't really pay attention to the steel structure behind the station but this after taking this shot, it actually made the picture look good.

First up on our itinerary was the Tongdosa Temple (통도사)  in Yangsan. I didn't really what to expect. All I know is that this temple is one of the three jewel temples of Korea. I've been to several temples before and I thought that once you have seen one, you've seen them all. However, Tongdosa is quite different and I got more than what I expected.

Tongdosa is an ancient temple located in the Youngchuksan Mountains. It is one of the 3 precious temples of Korea. It was founded by Jajang Yulsa when he brought the Jinsin relics of Buddha in year 646 (15th year of the reign of Queen Seondeok). Since then, the light at Buddha's altar has never been put out for the 1,300 years. There is no statue of the Buddha in the temple, but there is a Buddhist altar in the main hall. The temple is well known for the many cultural assets (80 different types)

Tongdosa Steles and Stupas

One Pillar Gate at the entrance of Tongdosa

One of the many bridges spanning the creek that leads to Tongdosa

Ancient pagoda at the courtyard
Stone lantern at one of the gates

One of the halls at the courtyard.

Daeungjeon, the Main Worship Hall

Geumgang Gyedan (Diamond Altar) behind Daeungjeon (main Dharma Hall)
The Geumgang ordination altar was reconstructed through the Goryeo and Joseon ages. Inside the first stair is a sculpture of a humble man, and on the outer surface is a sculpture of the celestial guardian.

The temple's resident cat
Seongbo Museum, a museum on the temple grounds that displays an excellent collection of artwork

Tongdosa Seongbo Museum was constructed to protect and display the cultural assets of the temple from theft and damage, and to research the promotion of the public understanding of Buddhism. The museum has more than 40,000 collections and is focused on preserving and displaying the collections. Every year, the museum displays a large 15 meter high statue and serves both a display and service purpose

Formal tea ceremony

Beautiful tea set up

Tea and rice cakes for dessert

Yummy rice cakes
The bell tower, with the monks doing the bell-ringing ceremony

Bowls and the proper way of laying them out when eating at the temple

Saninyo Gallery

Some artsy rice cake making

Pottery making

More rice cakes

Yangsan Tower, built on top of a recycling facility

View from the tower

Official site:


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