As this title suggests we got a little lost. Took a bus, missed the stop and got off somewhere unknown. But no worries, we just had to walk a little and voila! We found the sight we had been trying to get too. We live in a country with a history of Buddhist culture and an island full of legends about mythical creatures and moments that are hard to believe.
The legend behind Sanbanggulsa Grotto is that this mountain was formed from the top of Hallasan (the mountain in the middle of the island) that blew off and created a huge crater. Sanbanggulsa does not have a crater-turned-lake and so maybe the legend is true, who am I, to not believe such a thing. Regardless of how the mountain was created, it is now home to two temples, the Sanbang Temple and the Bomunsa Temple. When you first approach, you will see several sets of stairs leading you up the mountain which stands along the beautiful coastline. The first temple you come to is the Bomunsa temple.
There sits a giant gold Buddha and some Korean style prayer halls. Further up the stairs is a courtyard and a path leading you to the grotto which is a hollowed out cave that another Buddha figure sits in. Before approaching the cave there is a little box filled with helmets and a UNESCO sign warning of falling rocks. Well we assumed we needed to take these helmets, we were the only ones that took them! None of the Korean tourists that were on the path with us had helmets. We definitely felt a little silly wearing them.
It was amazing to see this sight and feel more connected to the history of the place we had come to call our home, its amazing to imagine all those years ago, faithful worshipers carrying this statue and creating this shrine to fulfill their cultural traditions and religious beliefs.