We took advantage of the beautiful weather one Saturday to head down to Jeolla-do, the south-west area of Korea. The fog seeped back into the mountains, the air smelled like dirt and trees, we moved through highways and roads that would leave us southbound. We were pleasantly surprised to find a persimmon farm.
We ended up in Handong, an area famous for its mushrooms. We stopped by the information center and had lunch. It was the most delicious lunch EVER! It was truly homemade, the pajan was superb and really the best I’ve ever had. The bean paste stew was homemade as well, it was both earthy and rich.
After killing the car battery, meeting some wonderful family that helped us and adored Eric’s foreign look, we dressed up in our beautiful hanboks and trekked up the mountain. According to Wiki, Samseonggung shrine was established in 1983 by Ham Pil, a Taoist priest. Teachings here include Chung (loyalty), Hyo (filial piety), Shin (faith), Yong (bravery or courage), and In (humane virtue) as well as the Six Skills of reading, archery, horse riding, propriety, Gwonbak (hand striking), and music and song. The shrine was created created for paying homage to the three mythical founders of Korea:
- Hwanin (한인) – or “Divine Regent”. In the traditional Dangun mythology Hwanin is portrayed as the Emperor of Heaven himself.
- Hwanung (환웅) – or “Supreme Divine Regent” is Hwanin’s son, who in the traditional Dangun mythology, descended to the peak of a sacred mountain long ago to bring civilized government and thus “benefit humanity”.
- Dangun Wanggeom (단군왕검) – or “Grandson of Heaven” is the half-human/half-divine son of Hwanung. Dangun was the fabled founder of Gojoseon, the first Korean kingdom, around present-day Liaoning, Northeast China, and the Korean Peninsula. Dangun is said to have founded the kingdom in 2333 BCE.
To get to the shrine was a feat in itself! The ajummas and ajossis hiking cheered us on as we climbed over rock and dirt in our wonderful attire. To get to the shrine required going through a small cave, keeping this place very protected even when other countries attacked.