When I arrive in Seoul, I was told there will be a celebration at the temple the next day, so if I wanted to get an intimate evening, it was best to do it the night I arrive.
I decided to do it around 9pm which was late enough to see the beautiful display of lights surrounding the 300 year tree standing in the courtyard and the image of the large sitting Buddha inside the temple.
What I did not know was it is the main temple as well as the district head temple of Jogye order in Seoul which is the center of Korean Buddhism. The Jogyesa Temple was built in the late 14th century during the Goryeo period and was once turned into ashes due to fire and was rebuilt under the name of Gackhwangsa Temple in 1910 with the effort of many respectful monks, namely Han Yong-un and Lee Hee-gwang. The temple was given a role as the head temple of Korea’s Buddhism and renamed to Tegosa Temple in 1936. In 1954, a purification drive took place to eliminate Japanese influence and revive traditional Buddhism, which established the present day Jogyesa Temple as a result.
It plays an important role in Korean Buddhism as the head temple of Jogye order. Jogyesa Temple’s Dharma Hall serves as the main venue for several Buddhist events, holding rituals, lectures, ceremonies, and other events all year long. The annual lantern festival in celebration of Buddhist’s birthday also takes place at this temple, which is where I was able to take some of the most beautiful pictures on my trip.