8 September 2013

CutiCuti: South Korea Day 7 - Jongmyo Shrine

Assalamualaikum. 안녕! 


It's our last day in South Korea. We will be leaving for Malaysia early the next day. Feeling  a little bit sad but knowing that I will be there during the winter; immediately cheered me up. Insha Allah. So lets continue with our journey; on the last day there.

Just a walking distance from Banana Backpackers is the UNESCO World Heritage Centre; Jongmyo Shrine. The very reason why I chose to stay at this hostel. Most of historical & tourist attractions are within its vicinity. Convenient enough as I enjoyed touring Seoul by foot. There are too many things to see, and it was huge regret if I chose to commute by taxi or bus. 
The back street leading to Jongmyo Shrine. 
We decided to buy the combo ticket for palaces in Seoul; which also includes Jongmyo. 10, 000 KRW per package. It is valid for one month after the date of purchased. 

As we arrived early, and no admission is allowed without tour on that day...we were 'forced' to join the only available tour on that hour. The Japanese Tour. It would've been a waste if we were to join the English tour at 10a hence we just followed the ongoing tour.  Not a single word of explanation that we understand except for Ms Z who understand & speaks little Japanese. Luckily we managed to grabbed the guidebook at the entrance gate, and we got to understand the histories & stories that lie behind this complex from the book. 

Take me to places as such & u will see me roaming around; connecting myself with the nature surrounds me. And ignoring human being most of the times.
Before exploring farther into the area, brief explanation by the guide about Jongmyo Shrine. In Nihongo! I remembered growing up watching Jdramas i.e Oshin, Miss Comet, Satria Baja Hitam list goes on...but I don't know why did I chose to love Korea more! 

A visit to Jongmyo Shrine could certainly be boring & dull unless u came prepared with information. Doing a little bit of research about places u gonna visit is of bonus; in my point of view. 

Jongmyo Shrine is a 'palace' for the spirits of the deceased kings & queens of the Korean Joseon Dynasty. Grave or tomb is the where the bodies or cremation ashes were buried BUT this place is where the royal souls are enshrined. It symbolizes the city village of the deaths. Hence perhaps explains the peaceful feeling I had upon entering; or mighty creepy for some. 
Mangmyoru Pavilion; a place where the King would take rest when visiting to pay tribute to deceased kings & conduct rituals.

Jongmyo Shrine was built by order of King Taejo in 1394; is a Confucian Shrine dedicated for ancestral rites during the Joseon period. The ongoing ancestral rites performed by this shrine resulted in it being recognized by UNESCO as a world heritage in 1995.

This shrine is viewed from the King's throne at Gyeongbok Palace & it should be on the King's left side. While another important Confucian shrine; Sajik Shrine on his right.
In front of the pavilion is a beautiful yet lonely pond; Jungyeonji. It consists of a gorgeous tree at the centre; called the Tree of the Death. Tree that represent death? 

Super love the colours combination. But I won't paint my house like this for sure. Ermm well, the youngest brother painted my room this exact colours. It was done without my permission; and years prior my addiction to anything Korean. Two sides of the wall is in green; while the other two in maroon-ish. Talk about forecasting his sister's addiction interest in years to come, huh.
The Joseon Empire was very particular towards the usage of the various gates in the shrine. South gate is reserved only for the spirits, east for the kings & west for the performers of the royal ritual. Read here for more info about the ritual. 

Picture above shows the South Gate in Jaegung. The stone paths was built higher than the ground; definitely is a passage for the spirit. No wonder we have to enter this building via another gate (the one at the left side of the building).
 Right: The King.
Middle: The no-royal blood related whatsoever; Ms G stepping on the spirit passage. No chance to be transported to their realm as yet lady!
Left: The Crown Prince in his room; Sejajaesil is to the east of the complex.   

The Royal Quarters/ Jaegung is a place where the king & the crown prince come before an ancestral rites; to make preparations. Both king & crown prince stayed here to purify their minds & bodies. They will exit through the west gate & entered Jeongjeon through the east gate to perform the ritual. 
The shrine was thought to be one of the longest building in Asia when it was built. The main hall; Jeongjeon (picture above) had seven rooms which were reserved respectively for king & his queen. 
To date, this hall is the longest building in Korea of traditional design. There are 49 tablets enshrined in 19 spirits chambers here. South Korea is the only Confucian country in the world that managed to preserved its royal shrines.
Climbing this stair; guided by two what I saw to resemble a lion.
Have always want to shoot this particular site. Ms G even had the idea to do the ANTM pose in between those pillars...little did we know that this is the closest spot we could get to this hall. The rooms are only open during the Jongmyo Jeryeak ceremony in May. Where the shrines are brought out from the rooms & reconsecrated with rituals, musics & traditional dancing. It would have been nice to be able to watch such event; live. I wish!

I'm sure if I were to take one step further, I will certainly hear the Ahjussi "Jogiyeo agassi. No Enter."-ed me again. For the umpteenth time that day! I prefer to roam freely; self-explore. Yet that is one thing strictly not allowed here. I have to be near my tour guide; whom I don't understand a line she's saying. Gah! 
Built just opposite the main hall is Chilsadong. It is where the spirit tablets to Seven Gods of heaven are enshrined. Prayers are performed here; in which the God were asked to ensure all affairs between the royal families & the state would be carried out without difficulties. The ritual to Seven Gods involved both elements from traditional religions & Confucian philosophy. 
Our tour guide sharing her knowledge us. I wondered if she ever mentioned that the Japanese invaders burned down the original shrine; to the Japs in her tour. What stand today is a new complex built in 1601.
I found this pretty creative. 
Trying my luck in entering the spirit world? By what? Stepping onto the passage for the spirit; and pose with trip-ayu smile? Major failure Bie!
Entering the Yeongnyeonjeong (Hall of Eternal Peace). This complex was expanded by the order of King Sejong because of the needs to house more memorial tablets during the reign of later kings. The name of the hall means 'long live both ancestors & descendants of the royal family in peace'. 
Taken from yahooimage. Because my picture of the front view of this hall was totally damaged; can't even be fixed to be uploaded here. Stress! 

To date it houses 16 spirit chambers. The center section of the roof of this hall is elevated. This is where the four spirit chambers for ancestors of the preceding four generations of King Taejo; founder of the Joseon Dynasty. 
Super blurry, super noise, super annoyed picture of me in front of the gate to Yeongyeonjeong. Wanted to upload it still despite the 'damage'. 

Leaving behind the historical site of Jongmyo. Too bad we have to hand over the tour book back at the reception; before exiting. Else it would have been a great souvenir. I could use it as a reference to scribble more facts in here maybe. 
Above is a passageway for ancestral rites called Silio. It consists of three separate footpaths paved with stones. The middle pathway; Sinhyang designated only for officiants carrying spirit tablets incense & written prayers. The path at the right called Eo-ro was for the king; while the left Sejo-ro was for the crown prince. This passage starts from the main gate of Jongmyo; and lead to Jeongjon & Yeongnyeongjeon. The two main buildings where ancestral tablets are enshrined. Before arriving at both the main buildings, three passageway of Silio separate. Sinhyang passes the south gate while Eo-ro & Sejo-ro pass through the east gates.

So please watch where u're walking while in here. It's their village therefore have some respect to the 'residents'. But I did walked across this passage as I need to get to the other side of the walkway. And yes, posing upon its ground as well. Only one take though. Nothing I-suddenly-entered-the-spirit-world kinda thing happened; fortunately.

Just fyi, I actually had quite an issue with my camera on that day. Don't know what happened nor what setting I used, but most all the pictures I took  were either blurred or discoloured. They looked ok to me when viewed through the camera's screen. So I didn't bother about setting the function & whatnot. But when transferred to the lappy, the outcomes disappoint me! BIG TIME! It took hours for me to fix them but some unfortunately aren't bound to be edited. Lucky I have pictures from Ms G's camera. So yeah, one-third of the pictures uploaded in this entry came from hers. Gomawoyo chingu-ya.

Phew! It took me nearly a week to complete this entry. I have been on-and-off scribbling. All thanks to the tripping-busy-moi-as-always. Semester has started & the students flooded the cafe I only have little time to scribble. Curi masa. Unlike during the semester break, time is never a problem for me. Arrived home feeling all torn out & have no mood to blog. I only scribble when I feel like writing...and no mood means good night. Ngek.



Ernie Khairina said...

mana ada damagae, cantik pun tu hanbag tu (hb juga saya nampak kan lol)

hebatnya ko punya info ni, ntah2 local pun nda tau

BibiErr Karim said...

Adei itu bah duluan kena nampak kan. Hahaha.

Ni info setakat termampu saya ingat. Ada few lagi tu saya ingat2 lupa.

Koreans sangat aware with their histories/heritage etc. Kami pi Sejong Museum, budak2 tadika masih bah sudah kena bawa pi sana. Intro to sejarah alphabet dorang. Siok kan. Even weekend, parents bawa beriadah tempat bersejarah.

Farikica said...

hi Bibi...Lawatan balas...:) Cantik juga palace yg ini ya...That silio thingy is very unique!

BibiErr Karim said...

Hi akak. Thanks for visiting!

Jongmyo ni 'palace' for the death. Masuk dalam, rasa tenang tapi bila nampak je laluan untuk spirit tu...terus seram sejuk kejap. Everything unique kan kat tempat diorang. Specially yang historical sites.