Day 9: The Buddhist Temples

May 12, 2019

Don’t get me wrong. The university and company visits are cool. It’s been really interesting learning about the different ways in which Korean companies manufacture and market their products. But they just don’t compare to the awesome things we see and experience on our cultural visits. After our day off yesterday, I was looking forward to today’s visits. Luckily, this day in particular was jam packed with culture.

We started our morning at Daereungwon. The bus ride over to the area seemed normal enough until we started to notice huge mounds of dirt on either direction of the road. They were popping left and right as we approach our stopping point. As we would later find out, these weren’t your average manmade hills. They were the final resting place for some Korea’s most powerful rulers during the Silla Dynasty. Everyone knows about the Egyptians and their pyramids of sand. Well I guess you could say that these mounds of dirt were the Korean equivalent. We actually got the change to go inside one and see some of the ancient artifacts that archeologists have discovered since digging through the site.

In the afternoon, we took the bus up the surrounding mountains to visit some traditional Buddhist temples. While the morning may have been more interesting, the afternoon was far more beautiful. After a nice hike down a few trails, we arrived at the Bulguska Temple. Since the entire country celebrates the Buddha’s birthday over the course of a month, they open up the actual temple to visitors for a limited time. Inside, we saw a magnificent statue of the Buddha made from ornate marble. It’s amazing how well the structure has been preserved. Outside the temple, they had prayer music playing, and vendors selling souvenirs. I made sure to grab a few gifts for some family members. It was a nice way to end our short time in the city of Gyeongju.

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