Mystery Road, Dongwasha and Maisan (Horse Ear Mountain)

Posted: September 17, 2010 in holidays, Korea, wide angle photography
Tags: , , ,

So why exactly are these guys looking between their knees (thanks for pointing that one out, Raymond. LOL!)?

It all starts with this strange phenomenon: when a vehicle is put into free gear, it starts rolling “uphill” like a bus possessed (if that were possible).

Various explanations about for this:

–         Said hill is haunted!!! YAAAA~~!!!

–         There used to be a massacre here and now this hill is haunted!!! YAAAA~~!!!

–         The ghost is pushing the bus! The hill is haunted! YAAAA~!!!

Apparently, all the rumours centre around haunting spirits.

But the answer to this mystery lies in the eye.  No no… not The Eye, your eye!

These guys are actually standing at the bottom of the hill instead of the top.  But the environment around the road makes it look as if we are standing at the top of the hill. But that’s not the fun part. 

The fun part is this apparent collaboration between all the tour guides to wreak happy revenge on us demanding tourists by telling us:

“To overcome the trick of the eye and see that we are at the bottom of the hill, all you need to do is stick your head in between your legs (yes Raymond, that’s what he said too… LOL!) and look at the road from there!”

Apparently that didn’t work as you can see from these exhausted faces.
Anyhoo, enough of those repeated photos.  South Korea has a number of temples.  I’m no Buddhist but the surroundings around the temples are occasionally quite breathtaking.  Maisan Provincial Park in Jeonju is one such area which has the Tapsa Temple nestled in the foot of the mountain.

Korean Buddhists have a belief that they put the fates and well-beings of their loved ones and families in the hands of their god and pray over them by piling little stones one on top of the other, forming a multitude of stone statues all over the area, tucked in the most inconspicuous places. 

We were told that we musn’t touch these stone statues as they were supposed to be sacred.  It was hard to ignore that instruction with the sombre atmosphere.  Nothing felt like it could be touched.

And in case you’re wondering about the name of this Mountain, it’s literally translated as horse-ear-mountain (ma-er-san).  That’s cos the twin peaks of the Mountain look like a pair of horsey ears from far.  I would have shared a pic of the pair of funny looking ears sticking out from the horizon were they not hidden in huge shrouds of rain clouds.

Besides Tapsa Temple, we also visited the Dongwasha Temple which has a 33 metre high Buddha statue.  This particular highlight however, was peculiarly hemmed in by construction when we visited.  The ugly construction aside, the hilly surroundings was ribboned through with pretty gurgling streams eagerly rushing to the foot of the mountain. Dongwasha Temple also has a long flight of steps leading up to the temple which is called “The Steps of Reflection” where Buddhists meditate on their teachings of kind acts and filial piety.  You’re supposed to take a step and reflect on one good act.  But we trundled down the steps and did all of our reflection at one shot looking upwards into the rain.

Next up: Find out who I was chasing feverishly throughout Seongsan Sunrise Peak, Jeju Village and even Dongwasha Temple till I got a massive headache that ruined my outing to the Teddy Bear Museum! All this coming up in a bit!

  1. I love the bench picture….it looks like such a peaceful place to take a rest!

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