A Fake Pilgrim

One of my favorite things to do in Korea is hike. No matter where you live, you’re never more than a few subway stops from excellent hiking trails. Last Wednesday I finally made my way to the trail that leads to one of Daegu’s most culturally important places, the giant stone carved statue of Buddha known as Gat Bawi (갓바위로) or hatted stone. The statue is considered a masterpiece, and was built to represent the unified Silla Dynasty in the 9th century. Located atop Gwanbong peak along the eastern ridge of Mt. Palgong, the hike up is short yet incredibly steep, but it’s beautiful as you pass by Seonbeon-sa Temple and take in the vast vistas across Korea’s rural countryside.

Most people on the trail that day were pilgrims heading to pay tribute to the Buddha, but not me. I’m a fake pilgrim, only there to enjoy the climb, take in the views and admire the stunning lines and forms of the Buddhist architecture.

On the trail to Gatbawi.


Serene Buddha Carvings

Steps to GatBawi

Buddha Head

Lion Guarding the Pagoda

Courtyard with pilgrims

Candid Worship

Cherry Blossoms and Temple Roof

Cherry Blossoms and Temple

Black and White Buddha

Cherry Blossoms and Pagoda Courtyard

Courtyard from Above

Pilgrims Praying

GatBawi Statue



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