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There are many interesting temples to check out across the Cheonan area, and one of the most well-known is Gakwonsa Temple, famous for having Korea’s largest statue of Buddha. It is a popular spot for local residents and visitors alike because of this, and because it’s not too far from downtown Cheonan – but sometimes it’s nice to explore cultural spots that are a little more hidden.

I recently visited the Taehaksan Recreational Forest with my wife and two young children, and while we were there we heard the noise of some prayers or chanting over a loudspeaker. Following the sound, we made our way along some paths that led us to Taehaksa Temple.

Since moving to Korea, I have been fascinated by how colorful the temples are here. I did some research into it, and the traditional decorative coloring has a name: dancheong, or 단청. The origins of this kind of decoration can be traced back to cave paintings and wall paintings from over 20,000 years ago, and Taehaksa Temple is a great example of the style. You’ll find some really beautiful artwork on the temple walls, which is worth taking some time to appreciate.

Another interesting thing about this temple is the way it’s built – it’s set back into the face of a mountain, so there are a lot of large boulders surrounding it. I thought it was neat to see what looked like an offering placed between a couple of the large rocks.

This was also my first time seeing Korean prayer tiles. I couldn’t read them to know what people were praying for, but I hope that their prayers were answered.

I’d like to re-visit the temple here on a day that wasn’t so warm so that I could explore more – our children were tired from the hike to get there so we unfortunately didn’t stay too long. If you’re in the area visiting the recreational forest, or you simply want to appreciate a quiet temple where you’ll likely be the only guest, this is a great spot to do that.

For Kakao Maps users, a link to Taehaksa Temple can be found here. If you’re using Google Maps, see the pin below.

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