Gyeryong-san   계룡산
the Rooster-Dragon Mountain
Gyeryong-san's traditionally-most-sacred area, the large valley at the southern foot of
Heavenly-King Peak, was initially favored for the site of the capital city of the Goryeo
Dynasty in 935 CE
(and so Gaetae-sa Temple was built just to the south) and was briefly chosen
pungsu-jiri geomancers as the site of the capital city of the Joseon Dynasty in 1390 CE
(foundation stone were laid before Founding-King Taejo Yi changed his mind and made Hanyang/Seoul
his new capital, following the advice of geomancy-master-monk Muhak-daesa, who based it on the advice/
prophescy of
Doseon-guksa).  This holy southern valley was taken over as the headquarters
base of the Korean Army in the late 1970s, and is closed to the public.  For that reason the
main peak, which has military and civilian communications-towers on it, is not usually open.
INDEX of my Gyeryong-san Pages:   (many are still under construction)

01  Introduction  (this page)
02  The Gyeryong-san Sanshin-je Mountain-Spirit Ceremonial
Festival at Shinwon-sa [Spirit-Garden Temple]
03  The Buddhist Sanshin-je Ceremony
04  The Neo-Confucian Sanshin-je Ceremony
05  The Northern-Shamanist Sanshin-je Ceremony
06  Mountain-worship Shamanism at Golden Dragon Hermitage
07  The Gyeryong-dae Male and Female Dragon Pools
08  Other Hermitages on the way up to Yeon-cheon-bong Peak
11  Shamanic temples & shrines west and south of Shinwon-sa
12  Shamanic temples & shrines north of Shinwon-sa

13  Gap-sa -- one of Korea's Oldest Monasteries
14  Shinheung-am Hermitage behind Gap-sa -- great Sanshin-gak
15  Shinheung-am Hermitage -- Ancient Natural Stupa-Peak!
16  Other Hermitages and features around Gap-sa
Hiking over Sambul-bong Three Buddhas Peaks, November 2005
18  the Brother-Sister Pagodas and Gyemyeong-jeongsa Hermitage
19  Shamanic temples & shrines south of Gap-sa
20  Shamanic temples & shrines north of Gap-sa

22  Sangshin-gol and -ri , Upper-Spirit Valley and Village
with Ceramics Studios, the Guryong-sa Site and fascinating temples
23  Imgeum-bong Cheonin-sa Shamanic Temple of Sangshin-gol
24  Dan-il-sa Buddhist Temple of Sangshin-gol
25  Cheonryong-sa Buddhist Temple of Sangshin-gol
26  Seongbul-am Shamanic Temple of Sangshin-gol
Anjeong-sa Temple on the upper east side

30  Donghak-sa
31  Hermitages of Donghak-sa
32  Janggun-bong Hakrim-sa Temple and the dinosaur museum
33  other Temples & Shrines around Janggun-bong

34  Shamanic Temples of the Minmok Pass (SE)
35  Shamanic Temples of the Dongwol-gol Valley (SE)
36  the amazing Baekun-am, White Cloud Shrine of Dongwol-gol

40  other sites of Gyeryong-san National Park
the modern monument on
Gwaneum-bong [Bodhisattva
of Compassion Peak],
at 816 meters
MAP of the Gyeryong-san Area:
Gyeryong-san has been one of Korea's most sacred mountains since ancient
times.  It was the central holy mountain of the Baekje Kingdom, the Western Peak
of the
O-ak of the Unified Shilla and Goryeo Dynasties, and the Central Peak of the
Sam-ak of the Joseon Dynasty.  It's not very high at all -- the summit is
Cheon-hwang-bong [Heavenly-King Peak] at only 848 meters -- but it stands out
prominently on the West Coast flatlands where few mountains top 1000 m.  It has
half-a-dozen other main peaks, mostly with classical Buddhist names.

The name means "Rooster-Dragon Mountain", given because of the way it looks --
the main ridge winds around like a dragon's body, and the 20 or so sharp peaks
along it resemble a cockscomb when viewed from a distance.  Both the Rooster
and the Dragon are members of the Twelve Symbolic Animals of the Oriental
Zodiac, and thus the name has deeper resonant meanings.

Several dynasties have planned or attempted to build their capital here, and it has
always attracted a wide variety of religious enthusiasm to its slopes.
Gyeryong-san is now the most-heavily-visited attraction in South Chungcheong Province,
located just west of Daejeon City
(a few km southwest of the famous Yuseong Hot Spings District) and
easily accessible from the expressway.  In 1968 it became the second area designated as a
National Park, with 61 square kilometers of territory.  It features three main ancient Buddhist
temples -- Gap-sa
(one of the oldest existing temples in Korea), Donghak-sa (the main study-
temple for the nation's female monks) and Shinwon-sa
(featuring the largest and fanciest pre-
modern San-shin-gak in Korea)
 -- and dozens of fascinating hermitages and shamanic shrines.
The rest of the park is crisscrossed with a dozen main hiking trails, often crowded.  Three
fine waterfalls grace the valleys, one in the center, one in the south (closed to the public)
and the other on the Northwest.  The scenery here, combined with profound cultural
treasures, make it one of the best places in Korea to explore.  The regions surrounding the
park in every direction are unusually rich with traditional cultural sites for the traveler to enjoy.