Belly dancers and b-boys performed at an ancient Buddhist temple on Ganghwa Island during the island's annual festival, which is held there every October, adding a modern new element to its breathtaking views, scenic walking trails and historical remnants.
Jeondeung Temple is part of an old fortress called Samrangseong, which was known as a secret quarter for visiting royalty in bygone days.
Although there is no official historical record, Samrangseong is steeped in legend. According to local folklore, it was built as a fortress by the three sons of Dangun, the mythical founder of the first Korean kingdom.
The temple is believed to have been built in 381, making it the oldest temple in Korea. As it came into being shortly after Buddhism was introduced to the country, its architecture is rich in historical detail.
At the tip of the eaves of the temple's main building is a sculpture called Nabusang that was created in honor of the master builder's lover. He apparently asked her to wait for him until he finished building the temple, but she ran away before he had completed it. As such, he installed the sculpture of a naked woman beneath the eaves in the hope that she would repent and follow the teachings of the Buddha.
Ganghwa Island is strikingly beautiful in autumn due to its foliage. At this time of year, its nine walking paths become even more enchanting.
For further information, call the festival organizers at 032-937-0125 or visit the website http://www.samrangseong.org. For more information on the island's walking trails, call 032-934-1906 or visit the website http://www.nadeulgil.com.