Donghwasa Temple is located on the south side of Mt. Palgongsan Mountain, about 22km northeast of Daegu.  It was built by monk Geuk-Dal in the 15th year of the Silla King SoJi’s reign (493). The original name of the temple was Yugasa, but Simjiwongsa rebuilt the temple under King HeungDeok (reign 826~836) and named it Donghwasa.  It means even during the winter season, the paulownia tree still blooms, and the present temple was last rebuilt in 1732.

<< Donghwa-sa during the Lantern Festival


Situated in Palgong-san Provincial Park, this temple represents the spirit of ponghwang (a majestic legendary bird). According to historians, the temple was built by high Priest Pojo-kuksa in 493 during the reign of King Soji, the 21st king of the Shilla Kingdom (57.B.C - A.D.935), and originally named Yuga-sa. It was later rebuilt by Taesa (High Priest) Shimji in 771, during the reign of King Hyegong, Shilla's 36th king.

In 832, during the reign of King Heungduk, a monk named Simji, who was also the King's tutor, enlarged main building and its affiliated facilities. During the winter, a paulownia tree auspiciously blossomed, so the name temple's name was changed to Donghwa-sa. The temple was also repaired and rebuilt several times by Taesa Song during the Chosun period (1392-1910).

During the Japanese Invasion of Korea in 1592, Taesa Samyong established the general headquarters here for a militia of Buddhist monks and became their general commander. The Yongnam-dochongsup (regional administration) was once here, and administered all the temples in the Gyeongsang area. Currently, Donghwa-sa is one of five major temples of the Chogye order of Korean Buddhism, and it serves as the main temple of the 9th Buddhist sect, which administers the temples in Daegu, Chongdo-gun, Kotyong-gun, Songju-gun, and Chilok-gun.

What to see

Around Donghwa-sa are six affiliated small hermitages and many cultural assets, including a seated Buddha relief on a rock face carved by Taesa Simji. Other cultural properties include a pair of three-story stone pagodas (Treasure #248) in Kumdang-am, a seated stone Vairocana Buddha statue (Treasure #244) in Piro-am, another three-story stone pagoda (Treasure #247), a seated Buddha carved on a rock ace (Treasure #243), flagpole supports (Treasure #254), and a stupa (Treasure #621).

The unification Great Medicine Buddha Statue, the largest original stone Buddha in the world, was established through donations showing a strong, cherished desire for Korean reunification. It stands in the center of Tongilyak-sa, a large, extravagant temple. According to rumors, it was built largely with money from former President Noh Tae-woo.

Taeungjon Hall (Daegu Tangible Cultural Property #10)

Donghwa-sa temple has been reconstructed eight times since it was first established. The present facilities are believed to have been reconstructed between 1727 and 1732 in the late Chosun period (1392-1910). Taeungjon, the main sanctum of the temple, is a three-by-three kan (kan is a traditional unit of measure referring to the space between two columns) structure with a hipped and gabled roof. The eaves are bracketed in a multi-cluster style popular in the late Choson period. Typical of architecture of that time, it includes sharply curved ox tongues and ornately carved bracket arms finished with lotus buds. The building is also noted for the latticed doors with colorfully arranged circles of flowers and the corner pillars which are undressed chunks of ancient trees.

Flagpole Supports of Donghwa-sa (Treasure #254)

These flagpole supports, 66 cm apart, are believed to have been erected during late Unified Shilla (668-935) when Tonghwa-sa temple was originally built. The sculptured details of the supports include rounding of the edges and vertical linear patterns, conforming to other works of that period. The square indentions and round holes were to hold levers for locking the flagpole in place.



San124, Dohak-dong, Dong-gu, Daegu, South Korea.
Tel: 053-982-0101

By Car
Driving: Take the road in Yeongcheon-gun, Sillyeong of #28 National Road between Yeongcheon and Andong.


Adults: 2,500 won (group: 2,000 won); Students: 2,000 won (group: 1,500 won); Children: 1,000 won (group: 800 won).