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Walk, listen and meditate at royal tombs

Seooreung, the second-biggest group of Joseon-era royal tombs which also includes multiple walking paths, is located in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. (CHA)
Seooreung, the second-biggest group of Joseon-era royal tombs which also includes multiple walking paths, is located in Goyang, Gyeonggi Province. (CHA)
A series of guided tour programs to royal tombs of the Joseon era (1392-1910) will be conducted starting next Monday to Nov. 7, the Cultural Heritage Administration’s Royal Palaces and Tombs Center announced Tuesday.

The program titled, “Wangneungcheonhaeng,” which means “a thousand ways to travel the royal tombs,” will offer 23 tours led by a number of experts in the field.

There are five themes under the program which include two to three royal tombs, palaces or residences for each -- Road of Yeongjo (Seooreung, Soryeongwon), Road of Danjong (Jangneung, Cheongnyeongpo, Gwanpungheon), Road of Jeongjo (Changgyeonggung, Changdeokgung and Yunggeolleung), Forest Road of King (Donggureung) and Road of King and Emperor (Gwangneung, Hongneung and Yureung).

While learning about the history, visitors can also ask questions about the Joseon royal families and their stories. Those who simply hope to relax in a serene forest will also find the tour enjoyable.

For some programs, a singing-bowl meditation session will be conducted against the backdrop of lush forests that surround the royal tombs. Others include music ensemble performances, which combine sounds of traditional and Western instruments.

Some programs allow visitors to access the royal tombs on days closed for general viewing, which usually falls on Mondays, and to explore places not easily open to the public except on special occasions.

“While hosting similar programs online in the past years, we have noticed the public’s growing interest in stories of the tombs. We decided to hold this year an on-site tour and observe further demand,” an official at the CHA told The Korea Herald, Tuesday. The official added that although this year’s program is managed only in Korean, English-language guides will also be considered in the future.

Tours begin at around 10 a.m. and ends at 6 p.m.

The maximum number of visitors per tour range from 20 to 40, depending on the location. One person can book up to four tickets.

Tickets are 30,000 won for adults and 20,000 won for those under the age of 19.

Entrance fees, shuttle bus services to destinations, lunch, snacks and souvenirs are all included.

Programs can be viewed and booked online through the Royal Palaces and Tombs Center website starting Tuesday.

By Kim Hae-yeon (hykim@heraldcorp.com)
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