Naejangsa Temple is perhaps the most famous temple in Naejangsan National Park. Naejangsa Temple's original name was Yeongeunsa, built by Yeongeun Josa in 636 A.D. during the Baekje Period (B.C. 18~678). It had been destroyed and renovated many times, but during the Korean War, it's destroyed. It was reconstructed in the 1970s, and that is what stands today. Right past the cablecar station, you'll see the information building and a little beyond that, the main entrance of Naejangsa Temple. Through the gates is the maple tree tunnel. The road is named this because the canopy of the maple tree's (ranging from tens to hundreds of years old) blocks the sunlight making it a tunnel. In the fall, the canopy turns brilliant crimson with the autumn leaves. At the end of the path there is the Budo Field. There are about ten budos here, and the evergreen in front of the field blends in well with the field. Past the Budo Field is Cheonwangmun, and just beyond that gate is Jeonghyeru, a small pond. The Jeonghyeru and the building beside it was originally built in King Sejo's 12th year of reign (1466), during Joseon period, but the one that stands today was rebuilt in 1970. Of all the buildings in Naejangsa Temple, this is considered the most beautiful. The other buildings you can see past Jeonghyeru are Dae-Ungjeon and Myeongbujeon. There is also a Nature Study and Research path outside the temple, which was developed as a relaxing mountain trail.
Here are more photos of the historical Naejangsa Temple for you to enjoy. There are also some photos of the temples and hermitages of Naejangsan National Park at the travelogue section of this VT page.
Personally, I find Naejangsa Temple and other religious sites at Naejangsan National Park to be very peaceful and tranquil (really ideal to practice religion here). The main reason is because it is surrounded by mountains and nature, and therefore isolated from the outside world especially during the oldern days where there were no fast modern transportations and roads.
Baengnyeonam Temple is designated a Local Treasure in South Korea, and it is said that this temple was the original Naejangsa Temple. Hwanhaeseonsa began to build the temple during the 20th year of King Uija of Baekje Dynasty (AD 660). Baekhakseonsa later remodeled the main temple Geungnakbojeon, Yosi and built Seon-dang(Hosangseorim) in 1925. This was destroyed, however, during the Korean War in 1951.
A noted calligrapher of the Joseon Dynasty, a man by the pen name of Chusa, Kim Jeonghui stayed here to cultivate himself, and suggested the change of name from Baengnyeonam to Byeong-nyeonam. He placed some of his writing on the wall, but along with the temple, it was destroyed during the war. On the western side, there are Seokjongbudo (age unknown), and Seongranjeong created by a woman calligrapher, Mongryeondang, Kim Jinmin.
According to legend, a monk named Himukdaesa threw rocks from the top of Seoraebong, and one of his disciples caught them and piled them up. Reconstruction of this structure began in 1986, in accordance with the restoration plans of the government authority. Please go to part 2 of this tip.
Attached are more photographs of Baengnyeonam Temple. Personally, I enjoyed visiting this impressive temple and its surrounding tranquil mountain scenery. It is quite easy to reach this temple as the path leading to it is well paved and near to the tourist information centre at the main park area of Naejangsan National Park (there is a direction sign in English, so you cannot miss it).
Wonjeogam Temple is a small Buddhist temple built during the 3rd year of King Seonjong of Goryeo (AD 1086). It is situated under Bulchulbong Peak, with a statue of Buddha made of ivory, and has engravings of the figure of Buddha entering nirvana.
Next to this temple is a small farm whereby you can see vegetables such as lettuce, chilli as well as some colourful flowers. There is also a bamboo forest near to this small temple. Please go to part 2 of this tip for more photographs.
Attached are more photographs of Wonjeogam Temple, including the Buddha statue, flowers and small farm next to the temple. Wonjeogam Temple can be easily reached by taking a path from the main park area, however, you need to walk up a slope but this should not be much problem because the walking distance of the sloped area is very short and you can stop and rest when you are tired.
Just like the many other mountain ranges and national parks of South Korea, the mountains at Naejangsan National Park tend to be very rocky (made up of huge rocks) and this can be clearly seen by some of the steep rocky peaks of the various mountains. In some parts, it is so high and steep that no plants can grow, thus exposing the beauty of the steep cliff face. See part 2 of this tip.
Attached are more photos showing the rocky nature of the mountains of Naejangsan National Park. During trekking here, you will be able to see many of such scenes. Together with the trees and plants (especially during peak autumn with the coloure foliage), this makes a beautiful and inspired natural scenery for photography as well as paintings :)
Naejangsan National Park is surrounded by steep mountains and living there is indeed peaceful and slow as I have experienced when I was there. The locals lead a simple and relaxing lifestyle, and it must be really healthy breathing the fresh and clean mountain air. The food here is generally very healthy and not so oily. This is a nice place to spend a few days if you love nature.
Attached are photos to show the beauty and tranquility of Donghak Revolution Monument Park. During the nice season such as autumn, it is very relaxing to spend sometime just by sitting at the benches here and watching the sceneries and day go by. Personally I enjoyed a good afternoon here in October 2007.