As of Nov. 10, 2017 the autumnal sunlights fall on the vast rice paddy called Mangyeong Field, the largest rice field in South Korea as if it ushers in upcoming winter season.
Located in Gimje City (ÑÑð§ã¼), South Korea's North Jello Province, Mangeyong Field, often dubbed as Honam Field, produces the largest amount of rice along with Dangjin Field in North Chungchoeng Province.
In 2017 it produced nearly 130,000 tons of rice, the major staple of Korean folks for hundreds of years. The rice produced in the area shows off its top quality among the nation's hundreds of rice bands.
What makes the paddy field more famous are Gimje Byeokgolje Reservoir (Ü¡Íéð§), the oldest irrigation facility on the Korean Peninsula, and its annual Gimje Horizon Festival. Gimje is one of nation's a few areas where people can see horizon.
The agricultural city of Gimje has God-given geographical advantages as nation's largest and richest paddy field with two rivers running from north and south, surround the paddy.
It also borders West Sea (Yellow Sea) on its west. Both Mangyeong Rive and Dongjin River run into the West Sea.
Gimje is also surrounded by affluent agricultural areas. It borders Gunsan on the north, Jeonju and Wanju on the east. Buan and Jeongeup are right underneath Gimje.
Altogether the areas make the largest breadbasket in the heart of South Korea.
Now Gimje has only a population of only 89,000 in its vast area of 546 sq. kilo meters. But in early 1960 it boasted of 25,000 residents. With the rapid industrialization of South Korea, its farmers and children left their hometown for jobs and education in large cities like Seoul.
Annually over a million tourists visit Gimje for Gimje Horizon Festival, Gimje Byeokgolje Reservoir, and for other tourist sites in the city.
The nation's oldest irrigation system, Gimje Byeokgolje Reservoir, was built in the year 330 during the period of Three Kingdoms on the peninsula.
There used to be five gates of the Byeokgolje Irrigation Reservoir, but now only two huge stone pillars of water dike gate remain at the reservoir almost 1,700 years after it was built..
The exact size of the nation's oldest and the largest man-made reservoir is unknown, but the length of one embankment reaches nearly four kilo meters. according to the past excavation study.
The water control gates reached 5.5 meters in height, according to the experts.
Still, about three kilometers of the reservoir embankment remain intact today.
The nation's oldest manmade irrigation reservoir, a meaningful historical relic, was constructed by the state-of-the-art technology of the past.
Gimje Horizon Festival is also the major tourist attraction along with Byeokgolje. The nation's most famous agricultural festival has been held every year since 1999.
Gimje farmers suffered a lot from the weight of Japanese colonialism on the peninsula from 1910 to 1945.
All the rice produced in Gimje and nearby rice paddies were all shipped by Japanese for soldiers fighting the Allies in the Pacific and elsewhere during the World War II.
In the center of Gimje City is another irrigation reservoir called Neungje Reservoir. Its clear and scenic beauty attract both anglers and other holiday makers.
Adding to the long list of tourists attractions in Gimje is Keumsansa Temple (ÑÑß£ÞÑ), the largest Buddhist temple in the province.
Maitreya Buddha, often dubbed the Future Buddha, or the Thinking Buddha, is considered as Bodhisattva (Ú¯×ÍÜÌß±), yet to appear on Earth to save people and to achieve Nirvana.
Keumsansa Temple represents Maitreya Buddhism in the nation, which swept through the Korean Peninsula in the Middle Age.
Buddhist scriptures say Maitreya Buddha will come 5.67 billions years after Shakyamuni Buddha (Gautama Siddartha) entered into Nirvana.
The 12-meter-high statue of Maitreya Buddha stands on the alter within the temple's Mireuk Hall or the Hall of Maitreya Buddha, making the temple as a mecca of Maitreya Buddhism in the nation.
Records say it was Ven. Jinpyo (òØøúëÏÞÔ), a highly respected monk, who made the temple as the center of Korea's Maitreya Buddhism.
Legends say that Jinpyo was awakened as a boy. At age 11 he was as mischievous as any boy. One day he went hunting deep in the mountain.
He caught 30 frogs and pierced them with a willow rod, only throwing them into a pond when a big animal appeared out of the blue. He ran from the place, thing that he would barbecue them soon later.
When in home he forgot it completely. Next spring he visited the same mountain for hunting. He was surprised to see the frogs still alive in the pond.
Jinpyo felt really sorry to see the frogs having suffered from the pains of being pierced. He left home to become a Buddhist monk.
The boy grew and became one of the most revered Buddhist monks in the nation.
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