Jogyesa Temple – Quite the unexpected treat in Seoul

Wandering around Seoul for a couple days, you get really tired of seeing the same temple/palace design with the same colours … no offense to Koreans. I didn’t expect it to be a particularly interesting place, in fact I expected to walk in, shoot a picture and move on. From an overall perspective, Jogyesa is a small but important temple in the Jogye order of Korean Buddhism. It’s almost weird seeing in the heart of Seoul – it’s almost out of place with all the modern buildings and technology around it, especially with it’s proximity to Insadong. Insadong is the place in Seoul to see ancient tea houses, antique shops and boutiques.

Thinking about Jogyesa, I was surprised since many Buddhist temples / shrines are usually located in remote mountainous range or impossibly steep climbs, it was rather nice that this one is a few hundred meters from three different subway stations. It’s too bad that it was such a cloudy day in Seoul, because the gardens around the Temple were fantastic, with these lovely flower arrangements.

Built in 1910 it is famous for its colorful paintings of the Buddha’s life and teachings as well as the 500 year-old white pine tree which stands proudly outside (purportedly brought over from China).

I took two pictures in the temple out of respect, as there were many people praying. Of course, I used no flash inside the temple, so the pictures are a bit dark. The three Buddhas (from left to right) are Amitabha Buddha, Shakyamuni Buddha, and Bhaisaiya Buddha (Medicine Buddha)

While in the Main Dharma Hall, Daewungjeon, without my sandals, I knelt down at a spot nearest to the entrance. Everyone was either sitting cross-legged, reading their sutras or carrying out their 108 bows – yeah 108 bows … that must be a killer on your knees. Everyone was completely absorbed in their praying and I couldn’t help but envy it a bit, since I definitely do not have that type of faith based belief … all these people in such a state of devotion, faith and earnestness.

About Rishiray

Rishi Sankar is a Cloud HRMS Project Manager/ Solution Architect. Over the past 15+ years, he has managed to combine his overwhelming wanderlust with a desire to stay employed, resulting in continuing stints with 3 major consulting firms (IBM, Deloitte, Accenture). He documents his adventures around the world on "Ah Trini Travelogue" with pictures and stories from the road/tuk-tuk/camel/rickshaw. You can follow him on Twitter at @rishiray and on Facebook at "Ah Trini Travelogue . He doesn't like Chicken Curry but loves Curry Chicken and is always trying to find the perfect Trinidadian roti on the road. He also doesn't like cheese and kittens ... and definitely not together. E-mail from his blog is appreciated like a 35 yr old Balvenie at

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