Temple Site in Bomun-dong – 보문동 사지 (Gyeongju)
Temple Site History
The Temple Site in Bomun-dong is located in the historic city of Gyeongju on the east side of the Bomun plains between Mt. Hindeungsan (268.7 m) and Mt. Nangsan (99.5 m). The name of the temple is assumed to be Bomunsa Temple because of a tile found at the site with “Bomun” written on it in Chinese characters. The roof file was discovered during Japanese Colonization (1910-1945). It’s unclear as to when the temple was first built, but it’s believed to have been built some time before the reign of King Gyeongmun of Silla (r. 861-875 A.D.).
Currently, the temple site is located in and among numerous rice fields. According to stone material found in and around the former temple grounds, it’s believed that there were numerous buildings at the temple including a large Golden Hall (main hall), an east and west pagoda, and other various buildings at the Unified Silla temple site.
In total, the Temple Site in Bomun-dong is home to three Korean Treasures. They are the Stone Basin at Bomunsa Temple Site, which is Korean Treasure #64; the Flagpole Supports at Bomunsa Temple Site, which is Korean Treasure #123; and the Flagpole Supports with Lotus Design at Bomunsa Temple Site, which is Korean Treasure #910. As for the temple site itself, the Temple Site in Bomun-dong is Historic Site #390.
Temple Site Layout
To the east of the rice fields where the temple site is located is the foundation for the Golden Hall site, which was the main hall. You’ll also find foundations for east and west pagodas to the west of the Golden Hall. As was already mentioned, there are three Korean Treasures around the temple site. The closest to the foundation for the Golden Hall is the Stone Basin at Bomunsa Temple Site, which is located to the northwest of the main hall foundation. The basin has a flat bottom, and it was used to hold water at the temple. It’s made from a single piece of stone that was hollowed out. It’s believed to date back to Unified Silla (668-935 A.D.).
To the west of the Stone Basin at Bomunsa Temple Site, and past a large rice field, you’ll find the Flagpole Supports at Bomunsa Temple Site one hundred metres away. This Korean Treasure is comprised of two flagpole supports, which are known as danggan in Korean. The two supports stand 62 cm apart. The northern support has been partially damaged with the rounded top of the support missing. And each of the supports have three holes in the top, middle, and bottom that were used to attach a flagpole to it. Smaller than other temple flagpoles, it’s believed that they also date back to Unified Silla.
And the final Korean Treasure at the Temple Site in Bomun-dong is the Flagpole Supports with Lotus Design at Bomunsa Temple Site. This lotus designed flagpole is situated to the north of the Stone Basin at Bomunsa Temple Site by some 400 metres. In fact, you’ll have to retrace your steps back to the main road, Jangjae-gil – 장재길, to find the final Korean Treasure. Follow the signs along the way, and you’ll find the beautiful Flagpole Supports with Lotus Design at Bomunsa Temple Site. This flagpole stands in a clearing like an island surrounded by rice fields in all directions. The two supports face to the east and west, and they’re separated by 62 cm of space. The two supports appear to be smaller in size; however, looks can be deceiving, as the supports are partially buried underground. The middle part of the supports are larger than the other parts of the support. The lotus flower design on the flagpole supports have eight petals, and they’re located on the upper portion of each support. It’s assumed that the supports were first built in the mid-8th century during Unified Silla. However, what’s most curious about these Flagpole Supports with Lotus Design at Bomunsa Temple Site is the distance they are from the main temple site that houses the Golden Hall and the foundations for the east and west pagoda. With this in mind, it’s unclear if these flagpole supports in fact belong to the Temple Site in Bomun-dong.
How To Get There
From the Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal, you can take Bus #604. The ride will take 18 minutes, or 13 stops, and you’ll need to get off at the “Janggol maeul – 장골마을” stop. From where the bus drops you off, you’ll then need to walk across the street heading east following a bend in the road that will turn you north. Follow this country road for 1.5 km, or 25 minutes, until you arrive at the temple site.
You can take a bus or simply take a taxi. From the Gyeongju Intercity Bus Terminal, a taxi ride will take about 15 minutes, and it’ll cost you 12,000 won (one way).
Overall Rating: 3/10
The Temple Site in Bomun-dong is scattered throughout several rice fields. In fact, the temple site and the three Korean Treasures almost appear to be situated on islands in clearings made throughout farmers’ fields. Of note are the foundations for the Golden Hall and the east and west pagodas. Also of interest is the Flagpole Supports with Lotus Design at Bomunsa Temple Site. You might get some curious looks from farmers as you make your way through side trails leading past their fields; but if temple sites are your thing, then the Temple Site in Bomun-dong is perfect.