Haetalmun Gate of Dogap Temple in Yeongam

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Haetalmun Gate of Dogap Temple in Yeongam

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Name: Haetalmun Gate of Dogap Temple in Yeongam, Period: King Seongjong of Joseon Period, Location: Yeongam County, South Jeolla, Status: National Treasure No. 50

Dogap Temple is inside Wolchulsan National Park. Built by Doseon Guksa (Buddhist Monk Doseon), the temple’s heyday was during the final years of the Silla Dynasty (57 BC-AD 935). In fact, the site used to be the location of Munsu Temple, where Doseon grew up. But after Doseon returned from studying in China, the Munsu Temple was gone, so he built the Dogap Temple in its place.

In 1473, monks named Sumi and Sinmi also rebuilt the temple. Most of the structures were burned down during the 1950-53 Korean War, then rebuilt in later years. In 1984, the temple was designated as Provincial Cultural Property No. 79.

The Haetalmun Gate (the gate of emancipation or nirvana), designated as National Treasure No. 50, stands at the entrance of the temple. It is the temple’s oldest gate and one of the few remaining original Korean structures among the temple’s many historic and cultural treasures. Its architecture is considered to be rare.

Along with the Hoejeonmun Gate of Cheongpyeong Temple in Chuncheon, Gangwon, Haetalmun Gate is believed to be one of the most important gates of Korea’s Buddhist temples.

*The photos and text for National Treasure are provided by the Cultural Heritage Administration. For more information, call (042) 481-4650 or visit www.cha.go.kr

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