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Published: November 19th 2015
I have been to the temple at the top of the mountain before, a few years ago. However last time I cheated and took a minibus part way up the mountain, so I only had to walk for about 10-15 minutes to reach the temple. Coming back to Namhae, I couldn't resist heading back to this temple, as it has some of the most stunning views I have seen in Korea. Seeing as I a bit fitter than I was a few years ago, I was more than happy to do the hike (also there was no other option this time).
We left our pension around 6 am, it was only about a ten minute drive to the starting point for our hike. I don't know why I bothered packing my headtorch as it was really light by the time we started hiking. Consulting the trail map, the route to the temple you be just shy of two kilometres, and to reach the peak, Geumsan, it would only be 2.2 kilometres on total. Also the trail wasn't too difficult, so it is a really nice hike. It was pretty quiet too, there were some other hikers but not many. It
was a really nice, pretty gentle hike for about 1.7 kilometres until I reached Ssanhongmun. Just before Ssanghongmun, there is Saseondae, which is a set of rocks where four Taoists hermits from the 4 directions gathered together to enjoy the natural beauty of the area. I couldn't really get a good shot of the rocks as there was too much foliage in the way. Ssanghongmun is the barrier gate of Geumsan. The gate used to be called Cheonyangmun but it was changed as Saint Wonhyo said that the gates looked like two rainbows. The gate was really cool, it had some great views down over the coast and it was really fun to walk through it and climb its stone stairs.
After about 10 minutes or so I reached the temple, i could have happily stayed here, but I wanted to continue on to the peak. That was about a further fifteen minutes uphill, but the track wasn't steep at all. I reached the peak marker, which reads Namhae Geumsan, I feel that Geumsan must be a common name and it does feel a little familiar, but I am too lazy to check out whether I have been to
another Geumsan in the past, hopefully one day my curiosity will get the better of me and I will check. At the top, there is Mang Dae which means observation, and this place was used as an observation tower and it was also a smoke signal station. A bongsu or beacon station was a communication system used in the Goryeo period, but are believed to have been about since before the Three Kingdom period. They were used to transmit urgent messages by lighting smokey fires during the day and bright fires at night. The signal stations were constructed on open spaces at the peaks of mountains at fixed intervals. Between one and five fires were lit depending on the severity of enemy approach/invasion. the views from the peak were amazing, you could see the coastline down below. Also there were a few islands dotted about, the rising sun is the sky made them look so pretty.
From the peak, I headed back down towards the temple. The views from here are just as good as those at the peak. I love taking photos of this temple, it is just so photogenic. This is definitely one of my favourite places
in Korea, it is so stunning, the views are amazing. Boriam Temple was first built by the Great Master Wonhyo in 683. He called the mountain Bogwangsan and the temple Bogwangsa. King Taejo began the Joseon dynasty after he had prayed at this temple for 100 days, because of this King Hyeonjong deemed this temple as a main prayer space and changed the name of the mountain to Geumsan and the temple was named Boriam. While walking around the temple, I came across a big Buddha statue that I couldn't remember seeing the last time I was here. It looked beautiful with the cliffs and blue sky above it. After I finished looking around the temple I headed back down the mountain. I took the same trail and it was pretty quick, only taking me about 45 minutes to get back to our bus.
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