The good thing about living in a country with 4 seasons is that the impermanence of living things become more apparent through the changes in the surrounding eg. climate, weather, fashion and nature. In spring, spring flowers blossom to reveal its tender beauty having withstood the bitter winter. In summer, the nation is greeted by the cheery, bright-coloured tulips. Autumn is the time where chrysanthemum flowers are in full bloom and festivals are held to exhibit the colour flowers. Known as “gukhwa”, this light-fragrant flower is made into tea (from the dried flowers) and even into traditional liquor from edible chrysanthemum infused in soju.
During autumn, chrysanthemum is used as decorative ornaments in many parks and temples. Jogyesa, (or Jogye Temple), the chief temple of the modern Korean Buddhism, holds the annual Chrysanthemum Flower Festival during the period from October to November. Festival in 2013 is a month-long event which started on 7 October and will end on 11 November.
Located within the heart of Seoul, this century-old temple (although it was first built about 500 years ago), has withstood the test of civil unrest, and now a place where locals and foreigners can visit and participate in their events. The temple’s main hall is opened 24 hours a day.
The Daewoongjeon is the temple mainhall, and the name means the place for great hero. The same name is also used in many other Buddhist temples around the word which house the Shakyamuni Buhhda. Jogyesa has continued to use this name even after the Medicine Buddha and Amitabha Buddha are housed there. In some Buddhist temples, the main-hall are known as Daewoongbojeon instead of Daewoongjeon when the Buddha Triad are housed within the same premises.
As the temple is located in downtown Jong-no, it is surrounded by high-rise skyscapers. Visitors to the temples include not only tourists and believers, but also office workers during the lunch hour to view the flower exhibits. It also provides tours and temple stay programmes for visitors. Information is readily available at the temple’s information counter.
The temple is filled with greenies and particularly a few huge old trees, which provide lots of shade and it becomes more cooling walking about the temple compound.
The shops along the street outside Jogyesa includes souvenir shops and some cafes. It will be nice to have some light tea and snacks after a stroll in the temple.