I have a habit of wondering into places of worship that I do not comprehend. Yongungsa temple is a lovely and historic place, the original temple was destroyed in 1592 but was rebuilt in the 1930’s. So let me try and explain it in the way my meagre understanding permits.
The entrance is fun because there are little market and food stands that line the path in. After that you arrive at a row of people statues with Zodiac heads, I liked those because I knew what they were and they expected very little of me.
The place is dotted with shrines and statues; they have little plaques nearby with their name in English near them. There is for example a statue for success in school, for road safety and a Buddha for bearing sons (no daughter one though, that made me sad because I would sooner have girls personally). My stepmother is very keen on that Buddha though, a few people she knows, who had difficulty conceiving, have had success with it.
There are shiny statues, tiny people, dragons, pretty buildings and some killer staircases leading to a statue of the goddess of mercy. Many of the larger sites have mats nearby so that people can pray. The buildings are decorated beautifully; I have not seen anything like that style before. You have to take your shoes off before entering the buildings. There is a little statue that people were pouring water on, but I have not got the slightest idea why.
One of the prettiest things about the temple is the way the coastline is a part of it. There are little paths and bridges between the various outcrops and you can see the waves crashing onto the rocks below. There is a place where people throw coins into statues with bowls. I got a coin into the turtle bowl. I don’t know what kind of boon this is supposed to grant. Things have been generally swell since then so it’s hard to tell.
Here are some pictures. I hope if you go there you have a better Idea of what you’re doing than I did.