Gaya-san with Deoksung-san
of Seosan City and Yesan County
in South Chungcheong Province
Chungnam Gaya-san / Sudeok-san Intro Page

San-shin Site  CONTENTS PAGE
Mt. Gaya-san is the second-most-sacred cluster of peaks and slopes in the South Chungcheong
Province region (after
Gyeryong-san), dominating the west coast area and forming the last
important part of the the Geumbuk-jeongmaek Range
(which runs from the Baekdu-daegan ridgeline
thru Chiljang-san and then to the Yellow Sea just west of here)
.   Its highest peak is 678m, highest in the
region, and the Gaya-san Cluster includes the famous Deoksung-san (495m,
a.k.a. Sudeok-san)
as well as Dwit-san 449m, Wonhyo-bong 625m, Seokmun-bong 653m, Okyang-bong 621m,
Irrak-san 521m, Sujeong-bong 453m and Sangwang-san 307m.

The auspicious name "Gaya-san" is a Buddhist designation representing Bodhgaya, the place in
northern India where Sakyamuni Buddha attained his enlightenment.  It was once a great center
of Korean Buddhism and other spiritual practices, with dozens of temples and shrines.  It may
have served as a transit-center for the monks traveling to and from the great monasteries of
China during the Three Kingdoms, Unified Shilla and Goryeo Dynasties (6th-13th Centuries).  
Most of the temples here were destroyed during the
Imjin invasion by the Japanese in 1592-98
and other disasters, however.  Today there are nearly a dozen active religious sites (including
Confucianism, Shamanism and Daoism), and the ruins of many more.

Most of these mountains are within the Deoksan Provincial Park.  The most famous sacred sites
in the Gaya-san Cluster are Sudeok-sa Temple on the south side of Deoksung-san Peak,
Gaeshim-sa Temple on the western slopes and the Seosan Samcheon-maae-bul Carving on the
northern end of the cluster.  This mountain is also associated with Wonhyo-daesa, one of
Korea's most famous and important master-monks.
Ancient Pagoda and Main Hall of Deoksung-san Sudeok-sa;
this hall is said to be South Korea's oldest wooden building!
Sanshin Taenghwa icon of Sudeok-sa
Dokseong Taenghwa icon of Sudeok-sa
Shinjung Taenghwa icon of Sudeok-sa