we were due to leave gyeongju for seoul the next day, and we woke up to lashing rains. despite the terrible weather, we decided that we still wanted to make a trip to bulguksa temple and seokguram grotto because of the buddhist heritage of the temple (the three of us come from families who practice buddhism). with time running out against us, we decided to only visit seokguram grotto, where the sculpture of the buddha within the grotto is regarded as one of the most important pieces of buddhist art.
by the time we reached the top of the mountain, fog had rolled in and the rain had become worse. we could barely see the entrance to the grotto and we were walking in the wrong direction before a gust of wind blew some of the mists away (top photo). then we had to hike into the grotto, the path was a good 20 minutes walk and it was terribly muddy. needless to say, our feet were terribly miserable and cold but we soldiered on.
when we reached the grotto and finally entered in to view the buddha, i almost wept with joy and relief, an emotion that i have no idea how to express came over me. i couldn't help but feel that the cold, mud and lashing rains that we had to endure was a test of our faith. it may sound a little melodramatic but truly this was what i felt. (due to conservation reasons, no photography is allowed in the grotto.)