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Tuesday, November 6, 2012

[Nov/Tour] Gatbawi – A Masterpiece of Buddhist Sculpture, Near Daegu


He sits there patiently and stoically. As soon as you cast your eyes upon him you know that your walk up the mountain trail was well worth the effort. Gatbawi, the sitting Buddha, is considered one of the masterpieces of Buddhist sculpture. An official Korean Treasure (No. 431), the 4-meter tall stone Buddha, Gatbawi, was carved in the 9th century. There he rests on a mountain peak, overlooking a wide vista north of Daegu. As the Buddha of medicine, he holds a medicine pot in his left hand. The stone headpiece atop his head represents his supreme wisdom, while the position of his hand symbolizes the expelling of evil. This latter point is important because tradition has it that Gatbawi will grant visitors one wish.
Gatbawi, Korean Treasure no. 431

A trip to Gatbawi is mesmerizing for reasons of your choosing. Perhaps it is seeing the sitting Buddha himself. You might savor the dramatic view of the countryside. For the weekend hiker in you, the trail up to Gatbawi is pleasant, as the long staircase and trail wind and climb through the forest that blankets the mountainside. Your trip to Gatbawi, by any measure, is well worth the visit.

Hiking up the mountain staircase

Give yourself several hours for the visit and climb up.

Getting there: Leaving Dong Daegu Station, exit and turn right, walk down a set of stairs. You will see the city bus stop ahead. Take bus #401, or 101-1 to Gatbawi (40-50 minutes).  By taxi, the trip is 25-30 minutes from Dong Daegu Station (figure a 20,000 won fare).

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