Hyangiram (Temple in Yeosu)
Hyangiram is a branch temple of Hwaeomsa (temple), located at the foot of Jirisan (mountain). It is a favored spot to see the sunrise. If you walk up from Impomaeul Village in Dolsan-eup to Geumosan (mountain), you will come to a narrow crack between the rocks. You need to pass the crack to arrive at Hyangiram.
Hyangiram was built by Wonhyodaesa, a great Buddhist master in the Shilla Dynasty, in 644. The original name was “Wontongam,” but it was renamed several times as Geumoam in 950, Yeongguam, and eventually Hyangiram in 1715. As you walk up the stairs, you will see the remains of a Daewoongjun and an office. Due to a fire that broke out on December 20, 2009, the Daewoongjun, office, and belfry all burned down. The destroyed buildings are being rebuilt now. Even though Daewoongjun was destroyed, other buildings were fortunately saved from the fire.
Hyangiram is one of four temples revering the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Hyangiram is unique in that it has two Gwaneumjeons (Buddhist Goddess of Mercy Halls), one of which is called “Yongwangjeon.” The other Gwaneumjeon is where the Statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy is enshrined.
There is an interesting story about the temple. There are seven caves or rock cracks at Hyangiram. It is said that if you pass through all the caves and cracks, one of your wishes will surely come true. There are two on the left of Daewoongjun, two on the path toward Gwaneumjeon, one at the entrance of Heundeulbawi, and two under the rock at the entrance of the temple. It is fun to find all the caves and cracks and pass through them all.
The path on the left of Daewoongjun leads to Gwaneumjeon and the statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. The generous smile on her face calms the mind. Under the statue, there is a rock where Wonhyodaesa sat in meditation. Visitors try to drop coins on the rock, as it is believed that doing so makes your wishes come true. It is not easy to do, however, so be prepared to keep trying.
Behind Hyangiram, oddly-shaped rocks surround the temple. There is a rock dangerously positioned on top of other rocks called “Gyeongjeonbawi (Buddhist Scripture Rock).”
The story of Wonhyodaesa involves Gyeongjeonbawi. When Wonhyodaesa finished his ascetic practice and was about to leave Hyangiram, he found he could not take many scripture books with him, so he threw them into the air. The books fell to the ground and became the rock. Access to the rock has been blocked, but you can still see it from a distance.
The most beautiful time at Hyangiram is at sunrise. The best spot to view the sunrise is from the front yard of Daeungjoen. Be sure to bring your camera. For those who want to watch the sunrise quietly, Gwaneumjeon is the best place.
On the way to the village from Samseonggak of Hyangiram, there is a walking trail to Geumosan (mountain). Geumosan is a 360-meter rocky mountain, and it takes 30 minutes to climb to the top. The name “Geumo” means “metal turtle.” According to Feng Sui, Impomaeul Village is the head of turtle and Hyangiram is the torso. At the top, you can enjoy a beautiful view of the ocean and the refreshing breeze. Sunset and sunrise are magnificent from this spot.
– User’s Guide –
- Address: Jeollanam-do Yeosu-si Dolsan-eup Yullim-ri San 7
- Phone number: 061-644-4742
- Website: http://www.hyangiram.org
- Admission fee: Free
- Parking fees: Free
- Guided tour: Reservation is required (061-690-2036)
- Photogenic spots: Sunrise as seen from the front of Daewoongjun or Gwaneumjeon, especially when the red sun shines on the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy statue
– Useful Information –
The Buddhist Goddess of Mercy takes care of the world and saves all people. It is called “Gwaneumbosal” or “Gwanseeumbosal.” There are six goddesses: Seonggwaneum, Cheonsugwaneum, Madugwaneum, Sipilmyeongwaneum, Junjegwaneum, and Yeouiryungwaneum. The halls enshrining the Goddess of Mercy are called “Gwaneumjeon” or “Wontongjeon.” People believe that their prayers will be answered if they pray to the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. It it also said that placing a statue of the goddess near the ocean protects ships and sailors.
– Extra Images –
(Rock where Wonhyodaesa sat in meditation)
(Statue of the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy)
(Tourists in front of Gwaneumjeon)
(Yongwangjeon and the South Sea)
(Daeungjeon under restoration)