The Snowy-Crags Mountains
Korea's best-known and best-loved National Park
a Key Sector of the Baekdu-daegan Mountain-System and Trail
|Late October, from the National Parks Administration
photoshoped view out of a cave,
from a government tourism-
brochure I saved from 1983
|The Manmul-sang [All various Things] Crags in southeastern Seorak, seen from the
Hangye-ryeong Pass, where the Baekdu-daegan Trail crosses National Highway 44.
|from a mountain-hiker's magazine
|a Seonang-dang (village guardian-spirit shrine)
in Yangyang County, just east of the Osaek area in South Seorak
|good video of the beauty of Seorak-san & its clouds...
|From my Encyclopedia of Korean Buddhism:
Seorak-san [설악산 雪嶽山, Snowy-Crags Mountains is a cluster of mountains highly sacred to
Korean Buddhism ever since great Master Jajang (慈藏, 608-686) named and consecrated them after
returning from China during the reign of Queen Seondeok [善德女王, r. 632-47] of the Shilla Kingdom.
They are located on the east coast of Gangwon-do Province, just south of the DMZ, within the central
sector of the Baekdu-daegan Range-line. They contain many notable high peaks measuring over
1,200 meters above sea-level including the summit Daecheong-bong [大靑峰, Great Azure Peak]
which soars to 1,708 meters, third-highest in South Korea.
Their name is a Chinese version of term for the Himalayan Range between India, Nepal and China,
highly sacred to both Hinduism and Buddhism. In traditional times, however, they were regarded as
the southern region of the entire Mt. Geumgang-san [金剛山, Diamond Mountains] cluster, which in
that conception stretches more than 100 kilometers long in total. Their Sanshin mountain-spirits,
regarded as male, are believed to be especially powerful and benevolent hosts of Buddhism.
Seorak-san is conventionally divided into three sectors: “Outer” (Oe-seorak) in Sokcho City, “Inner”
(Nae-seorak) in Inje-gun County and “South” (Nam-seorak) in Yangyang-gun County. It contains
many famous natural sights such as the craggy Manmulsang [Ten-thousand Things] area, the
Cheonbul-dong Gyegok [Thousand Buddhas Village Scenic-gorge] with Gwimyeon-am [Spirit-face
Rock], Biseon-dae Pokpo [Flying Angels Waterfall], Oknyeo-tang [Jade-Maiden Bathing-Pool],
Mireuk-bong [Maitreya Buddha Peak], Ulsan-bawi [Flying Peaks], Shipil-seonyeo-tang Gyegok [12
Immortal-Girls’ Bathing-Pools Scenic-gorge], Osaek-yaksu Gyegok [Five Colors Medicinal-Water
Scenic-gorge] and the Dragon-spine Ridge. It was the subject of many landscape paintings in the
Joseon Dynasty (朝鮮, 1392-1897), part of the “Diamond Mountain Paintings” artistic genre.
Seorak-san contains a dozen famous Buddhist temples, and used to also be filled with Shamanic
shrines edicated to the powerful mountain and waterfall spirits, before anti-fire crackdowns began in
the 1980s. Seorak-san National Park (雪嶽山國立公園) was created in 1970 over 163.6km2, and
UNESCO designated much of the area as a biosphere reserve in 1982; it is now listed by the South
Korean government with UNESCO as a tentative World Heritage Site. It is one of Korea’s most popular
attractions for domestic and international tourists and nature enthusiasts, as well as Buddhist pilgrims.