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Tapsa Temple ( 마이산 탑사 )
Place Category: Historic Sites and Temple
Tapsa Temple is located 1.9km away from the southern parking lot of Maisan Mountain in Dongchon-ri, Maryeong-myeon, Jinan-gun, Jeollanam-do. Tapsa Temple is famous for the over 80 stone pagodas built by Lee Gapyong, a retired scholar. Those stone pagodas have different sizes and shapes from cone-shaped to straight-shaped. Behind Daeungjeon, Cheonjitap tower is located. It is the largest tower, with a height 3 times as high as the average adult’s height. How this tall tower was built is still unclear, drawing much attention from people. It is said that those stone pagodas were made in the late 1800’s entirely by Lee Gapyong alone. He collected stones in daytime and built the pagodas at night. Even though the pagodas have been around for more than 100 years, they have never collapsed nor even moved through strong winds, making them truly amazing.
Tapsa Temple is also well known for cherry blossoms in spring, covering an area of 1.9km from Nambu (south) parking lot of Maisan Mountain to the entrance (a 30min walk). This road is the venue for Maisan Cherry Blossom Festival as well.
* Cheonjitap is comprised of two twin pagodas with heights of 13.5m and placed in the south and north directions. Cheonjitap is the main pagoda, making the other pagodas at Tapsa Temple look well-balanced. It is believed that 120 towers originally existed, but only 80 of them remain today. The two towers at the very front are named Ilgwangtap and Wolgwangtap. These groups of towers are strong enough to stand up to typhoon winds, something quite hard to believe, giving the towers a certain mystery. Also, towers are tilted slightly in both directions, showing that Lee Gapyong erected the towers with the direction of the wind in mind.