The Temple Welcoming Committee

Written by on February 10, 2014 in Travel

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A foggy summer day at Jeongchwiam Hermitage.

Hello Again Everyone!!

The entire purpose of visiting Jeongchwiam Hermitage in Sancheong, Gyeongsangnam-do in the summer of 2012 was to see the beautiful Sanshin (The Mountain Spirit) painting and enjoy the views of the valley down below. However, the adventure to get there, and what awaited us, quickly overshadowed expectations.

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The winding road, and wrong turn, that leads up to the hermitage.

Jeongchwiam Hermitage is a bit difficult to find, as it’s a bit off the beaten path. So I took the turn that I thought led into Jeongchwiam Hermitage. Boy was I wrong. Like most mountain roads, there’s only one way in and one way out, so it’s next to impossible to turn around. Most of the time, you just have to keep heading straight and hope that your destination lies somewhere further up the road. Unfortunately for this turn off, there was no ultimate destination; instead, the gravel road quickly turned into a mud bogging road. With the aid of my wife, I was finally able to turn the car around, but not before almost flipping it in the process.

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The welcoming committee at Jeongchwiam Hermitage.

Finally, and with a few frayed nerves, we arrived at Jeongchwiam Hermitage. When we arrived, it was really foggy from a previous night’s rainfall. When we finally did start to explore the hermitage grounds, we were greeted by a Jindo pup. A Jindo dog originated on the island of Jindo in South Korea. It’s white in colour and it’s known for being both loyal and brave in nature. This puppy was extremely playful in nature. It seemed happy to see us.

As we continued to explore, the Jindo pup followed us around nipping at our heels (literally), as we explored the hermitage grounds. And when we attempted to visit the main hall, the Jindo attempted to follow us in. Perhaps this puppy does this on a regular basis with the monks at the hermitage, but it was strange for me, so I physically had to bar it from the main hall.

And then when we went on to explore the rest of the grounds, and as we carefully made our way up to the cliffside halls, the sure-footed Jindo nearly tripped me up on the rain soaked stairs. It was just so excited to see a visitor.

Finally, when it was time to go, this free-roaming puppy sat patiently in the parking lot to see us off as we left. But before we drove away, we said our good-byes. Strangely, it felt as though this puppy had been our tour guide, and was now sadly saying good-bye to us.

For more information on Jeongchwiam Hermitage, please follow this link.

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And a good-bye. Until next time…

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About the Author

Dale Quarrington

Dale Quarrington has lived in the Busan and Gyeongsangnam-do Province area ever since arriving in Korea in 2003. He’s visited all of the Korean provinces, exploring both the known and unknown temples and hermitages around the Korean peninsula. While he’s not traveling, he enjoys reading books and learning about Korean history.