Yong-ri Ssangrim-myeon Goryeong-gun Gyeongsangbuk-do Province
Thousand year-old ancient temple placed peacefully on the slope of Musungsan Mountain
Misungsan Mountain (757 meters above sea level) rises near a stream of Gayasan Mountain on the border of Goryeong-eup Goryeong-gun Gyeongsangbuk-do Province and Yaro-myeon Hapcheon-gun Gyeongsangbuk-do Province. As General Yi Seonggye succeeded in a coup d’etat against the Goryeo Dynasty General Andongjanggun Lee Mi-sung, a disciple of the royal scholar Jeong Mong-ju, built up a fortress on this mountain and he fought against the army of General Yi Seong-gye with his civil army, but he lost the battle and was killed in the battle. In commemoration of his great fidelity to his royal kingdom, people changed the name of the mountain from Sangwonsan to Misungsan Mountain.
On the middle of the eastern slope of Misungsan Mountain is placed a cozy temple called Banryongsa that is the branch temple of Donghwasa on Palgongsan Mountain. Most of all the retaining wall piled up with natural stones is very attractive. Though the foundation date has not been determined so far, a legend says the great monk Wonhyodaesa (617 - 686) renamed the temple Banryongsa (盤龍寺: temple of a dragon on the table) after the renovation of the temple to see the geography of the temple look like a dragon coiling on a large table. From this legend, this temple seems to have been built during the Gaya Kingdom or early Silla Kingdom. There is a legend that says Banryongsa Temple supervised the construction process of Haeinsa Temple in 802 (the third year of the reign of King Aejang in the Silla Kingdom)
Thereafter, the state monk Bojoguksa Jinul renovated the temple in the middle of the Goryeo Kingdom and the great monk Naongseonsa Hyegeun renovated the temple again during the reign of King Gongmin (1351 – 1374). The geographical book “Donggukyeojiseungram” has a record that King Sejo of Chinese Won kingdom sent an order to his army about the temple. The order had a clause that read any one of the Chinese Won kingdom army that came to Korea to invade Japan invades Banryongsa Temple or showed impolite behavior at Banryongsa Temple would be duly punished.
Relics of stone pagoda and bronze bell
Banryongsa Temple was burned down during the Japanese invasion of Imjinwaeran in 1592 (the 25th year of the reign of King Seonjo) and the great monk Samyeongdaesa Yujeong reconstructed the temple, but the temple was burned down again thereafter. In 1764 (the 40th year of the reign of King Yeongjo), the town governor Yun Sim-hyeop rebuilt the main hall, residential house and Manseru Hall, and the large hall Daejeokgwangjeon was built in 1996 and Simgeomdang Hall was built in 1998. Banryongsa Temple has no gates such as Iljumun, Bulimun, Geumgangmun and Sacheonmu. If you pass the tomb stone beds, the main hall Daejeokgwangjeon, Jijangjeon Hall, Yaksajeon Hall, Simgeomdang Hall, Samseonggak Shrine and residential house are placed simply on the temple ground. The main hall Daejeokgwangjeon enshrines a Birojanabul Buddha statue with two Buddha statues on both sides of the main Birojanabul statue. The wooden sitting Buddha statue Birojana-samjonbul-jwasang built in 1642 (the 20th year of the reign of King Injo) was nominated as Tangible Cultural Property No. 429 of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province.
A stone pagoda and bronze bell in the temple is very popular. The stone pagoda in Banryongsa Temple nominated as Tangible Cultural Property No. 117 of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province is 2.4 meters high with three layers on the base. One stone story is placed on the base and cover stones are placed in several layers. This multiple-storied stone pagoda was moved to Daegaya Museum at Goryeong in 2000 to preserve the stone pagoda well. The stone pagoda in Banryongsa Temple is a replica of the original stone pagoda. In the process of reconstruction, the 12 storied stone pagoda was found to in fact be 13 stories.
Great atmosphere of Daegaya Kingdom with a history of 520 years
The bronze bell in Banryeongsa Temple, nominated as Tangible Cultural Property No. 288 of Gyeongsangbuk-do Province, is a small bronze bell with a height of 50 centimeters and a weight of 60 kilograms, but is still a precious material to study the bronze bell style in the middle of the 18th century. Seventy-three Chinese letters are inscribed on the body of the bronze bell with a relief style. The letters indicate that the bell was manufactured in March, 1753 (the 29th year of the reign of King Yeongjo) with a weight of 100 geun bronze. The inscription reveals the names of the monks and the donors who participated in manufacturing the bell. The bronze bell is displayed in Daegaya Museum from 2000 to preserve the bell in a safe condition. The bronze bell in Banryongsa Temple nowadays is a recent replica of the original bronze bell.
Daegaya Museum, Royal Tomb Exhibition Hall and the royal tombs at Jisandong Village are worthwhile to visit. Daegaya Royal Tomb Exhibition Hall was opened in September, 2000 and exhibits the relics discovered from the royal tombs in Jisandong Village that was nominated as Historic Site No. 79. The inner side of large tomb No. 44 in Jisanri Village that was confirmed to be a tomb where living beings were buried together with the deceased is very impressive. The tomb exhibition hall was built with a large dome style with a diameter of 37 meters and a height of 16 meters with features like a large tomb. Daegaya Museum was opened in April, 2005 and is composed of a main exhibition hall where historic relics and cultural materials from the Paleolithic Era to recent ages are displayed and features exhibition hall where feature events are held.
On the slope of the mountain above Daegaya Museum are clusters of Jisandong royal tombs. Until Daegaya was overthrown by the Silla Kingdom in 562, Daegaya Kingdom lasted for 520 years and its kings and leading royal people’s tombs are placed here. Out of hundreds of tombs, 72 relatively large tombs have serial numbers. The largest tomb is the No. 5 tomb with a diameter of 49 meters and the tomb is called Geumrim-wangreung. The large royal tombs placed in line along the hill have a wonderful and mysterious atmosphere.