Bongeunsa Temple is a Buddhist Temple in Gangnam, Seoul. It is believed to have originated from the Gyeonseongsa Temple built nearby in 794 during the Shilla Kingdom. The temple was once in the middle of nowhere at the foot of Sudo Mountain. Even in the 1970’s the area around Gangnam was farm land. Today, the temple is surrounded by the modern area of Gangnam which shot up during the Korean economic boom with it’s skyscrapers, infrastructure and huge COEX shopping mall across the road from the temple.
The temple was moved to its current location in the mid-16th century from less than a kilometre away. Benguensa has been destroyed or damaged many times over it’s long history but alas it still stands today. Some parts of the temple are still undergoing restoration. Bongeunsa Temple is great for people who live in Seoul and don’t have time to hike mountains in the countryside in search of Buddhist temples. The temple complex has a variety of large and small buildings with a huge Buddhist statue called Mireukdaebul, the largest of it’s kind in Korea.
There is also a short temple stay program for foreigners available. There is no need to make a reservation and you can sign up on the spot. The tour is about 2 hours . The program offers temple tours, meditation and conversation with monks, tea ceremony demonstration and making a lotus lantern. This is held every Thursday from 2pm to 4pm and costs 10,000 won.
Every year on September 9th the Buddhist ceremony called Jeongdaebulsa is held. This is a festival where people walk around the temple grounds holding wooden blocks of Korean Buddhist scripture on their heads.
Opening Hours / Admission
The temple is open from 03:00 am to 22:00 pm. It is open 365 days a year.
How to get to Bongeunsa Temple:
Take line 2 to Samseong station and leave exit 6. Head straight along side COEX Mall for about 8 minutes and turn left at the first main road. Walk straight for 1 minute and Bongeunsa will be on the left.
Alternatively, take line 7 to Cheongdam station and leave exit 2. Head straight and Bongeunsa Temple will be on your right.
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