Daily Archives: 31.01.2014

Venice – the Queen of the Adriatic



Venice – the Queen of the Adriatic

“Getting lost is the only place worth going to”, says the wise man. If I were ever to get lost, I would choose to lose myself in Venice. The city of Venice is an enigma- a city that combines old world charms and the authentic beauty of Italia with an experience you will not find anywhere else on this earth. The Gondola Rides, the Italian serenades, the glorious piazzas, the sparkling Murano Glass, the vibrant masks of the Venetian Carnival- the charms of Venice has something to offer everybody.

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History: The Queen of the Adriatic is nestled in the marshy lagoon of Venice, between the Po and the Piave rivers. Its unique location grants it stunning visual beauty and an unparalleled appeal that cannot be imitated. Historically, the city was the capital of the Veneto region. It was an important maritime center during the Renaissance and the Crusades and trade of luxury goods, wine and fine silk flourished. Venice is also home to the exotic Murano glass factory (originating from the island of Murano, a few kilometers off the main insland of Venice). This beautiful city is completely devoid of cars and is also called the ‘Pedestrian City’. People walk and use water buses and water taxis (called Vaporetto) to get around. Tourists can also avail the historic Gondola rides to enjoy a scenic tour along the Grand Canal.

It is believed that the original population of Venice consisted of refugees from surrounding Roman cities and countryside who were fleeing from Hun and German invasions. It became an Imperial power after the end of the Fourth Crusade, with the sacking of Constantinople. Venice carries a rich legacy of heritage. It was a center of excellence in art during the period of Renaissance.  The city is also the seat of magical symphony and operatic music. Thus when you are visiting Venice, you know that you are in cohorts with history.

The beautiful cityscape, rich art and musical heritage and the magical ambience of time standing still has made Venice one of the most sought after international tourist spots. The city has earned a bouquet of endearing sobriquets, ranging from ‘ a living museum ‘ to the ‘most beautiful city in the world’. Tourist magnets include the imposing structures like St. Mark’s Basilica, the Grand Canal and Piazza San Marco. Tourists also splurge on luxury destinations, hotels and cafes of Venice that offer an unique experience away from the mundane daily life strives.

Art, Music and Architecture

Venice boasts of the beautiful Venetian Gothic school of architecture characterized by generous doses of Byzantine, Ottoman and Phoenician influences. The city also has some beautiful buildings built in Renaissance and Baroque styles. The Doge’s Palace, Ca’ o’doro and Ca’ Pesaro are some architectural marvels bearing the indelible mark of Venice.

The Venetian School of Music is celebrated throughout the world. The Polychoral style is characterized by the splendor of multiple choruses and elaborate orchestra. The city is home to a multitude of celebrated music composers including Antonio Vivaldi and Giovanni. Thus, when you are in Venice, the one thing you cannot miss is definitely a music recital.

Talking about art, Venetian style is characterized by warm color pallet and a vibrant use of hues. Venetian Glass is also famous all over the world. The ornate glasswork techniques unique to Venice are splendid, to say the least. The delicate and beautiful jewelry made from hand blown Murano Glass is adored by connoisseurs all over the world. The glass factories attract tourists from all over the world to behold the masters create beauty in the fire.

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The Carnival of Venice

Every Year, the annual celebration of the Carnival of Venice begins, with the end of the period of Lent, forty days before Easter. People dressed in elaborate costumes and intricate masks flood the Venetian streets, making it a marvelous spectacle to behold. Originally started in the Middle ages to commemorate the victory of Serenissima Repubblicaagainst Ulrico in 1162, the carnival was outlawed under the rule of the King of Austria. However, the carnival made a comeback in 1979 when the Italian Government decided to reconstruct the appeal of Venetian Heritage. Today, the Carnival sees a footfall of around 50 million people from all over the world.

Masks have always been an integral part of the Venetian way of life. It is believed that people used to cover their faces in response to the prevalent social hierarchy of old Venice. Today, however the Venetian mask is a relic of past legacy. The masks are made of everything from leather to intricate glasswork, gilded in gold and elaborately hand painted. Most recognizable masks include the Bauta, Columbina and The Plague Doctor ( a mask originally worn by healers to stop the spreading of plague). The Plague Doctor mask finds elaborate mention in Dan Brown’s novel ‘Inferno’.

One of the most appealing parts of the Venetian Carnival is the  la maschera più bella (the most beautiful mask) contest  at the last weekend of the Carnival.

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Gondola Ride

No mention of Venice can ever be complete without a dreamy ride I a gondola. Though today Vaporettos are used for transportation across Venice, tourists prefer a ride in a historic Gondola to admire the beautiful city of Venice. The Gondolas are usually wooden flat boats, adorned with luxurious cushions and rugs for tourist comfort. The Gondoliers dress in striped shirts and dark trousers and often sing magical Italian serenades, adding to the romance of the environment. They say a nighttime ride on a gondola in the Grand Canal of Venice (or even the narrow canals that criss cross the authentic Venice) is the most romantic experience one can ever enjoy. Just close your eyes and imagine the serenades of your gondolier under a starlit sky with your loved one, and you will know why.

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Thus if you appreciate every thing beautiful, adventurous and romantic, you should add Venice to your must-visit list.

Colors of Portugal: Rainbow color Umbrella’s in Agueda



Colors of Portugal: Rainbow color Umbrella’s in Agueda

Portugal, an European country officially named as the Portuguese Republic is a developed country with an advanced economy and high living standards. The name ‘Portugal’ arise from the second largest city in here which is Porto. As much as one gets amazed to see the sun kissed beaches, fairy tale castles and the dramatic cliffs in Portugal, they also fall in love with the calmness and the serenity found while travelling this exquisite place. Portugal is also one of the most globalized and peaceful nations of the world. The country can show you many modernized settings but meanwhile it also holds historical destinations like Sagres and the University of Coimbra which are a must visit for all the travellers. This place has a rich history in painting and is a home to many spectacular art installations.  Nuno Gonçalves was the first well known painter of Portugal who belonged to the gothic painting era. Portugal has 156 cities where places like Lisbon, Algarve, Sintra are a few top places to visit in Portugal, Agueda is another major city that shall be on your must visit list. This city is bounded by Agueda River on the north, Certima River on the south, Serra do Caramulo on the east and Pateira de Fermentelos on the west. Agueda has a lot to offer in the form of its alluring vineyards and the successful wine industry, traditional clay pottery and handmade articles, and diverse species of wildlife and marine life.

But around a special time of the year what gets this Portuguese city filled with an outburst of rainbow colours? Umbrellas! Red, yellow, orange, blue, pink, green, different hues of umbrellas suspended in mid-air is a unique thing to observe in Agueda which makes for a splendid site for the tourists visiting Portugal as well as the local people here.

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From July to September the streets of Agueda display a sea of colourful umbrellas hanging through strings in air which make them look like they are magically floating in the sky. This street installation is a part of Agitagueda Art festival, which is the local art festival at Agueda. But besides being a beautiful art installation it also protects the passers-by from the scorching heat over the sun baked streets and also saves them from a downpour of water. This street installation is the creation of a firm Sextafeira Produgues and is named as the Umbrella Sky Project. This firm works towards creating many urban installations out of which the Umbrellas in sky is I think the most colourful and the most quirky one!

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Patricia Almeida is a photographer who captured a lot of beautiful photographers of this outlandish art installation on the streets of Portugal. In her words when she saw this amazing canopy of colourful umbrellas in sky “She felt like a kid, amazed by all those colours”. In a few pictures clicked by her, we can see the whole street having a purple or a green hue due to the umbrellas, making for a vivid sight and a peaceful walk in the umbrellas’ shade without the hot summer sun over people’s heads. Another photographer Diana Tavares also clicked some fascinating shots of the umbrella covered sky over the top of Agueda.

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When this installation of hundreds of colourful umbrellas was first developed it left the onlookers astonished and amazed. And now it has become a wonderful tradition which one must observe. The coming back of umbrellas after an year with a new pallete of colours or designs also doesn’t risk the fear of people getting bored of this umbrella fashion because they absolutely love it. The umbrellas still amaze the people and make them fall in love with Portugal. In one picture we can see umbrellas in such a pretty lemon like design making astonishing shadows over the walls.

After the pictures of this umbrella sky went viral many people are now visiting Portugal especially to see this amazing scene. As said by a spokesperson from the Umbrella Sky Project, “It’s really worth seeing the amazing scenery up close. The exhibition transforms reality in magic, catapulting us into a unique adventure of sensations that completes a visit to the festivals that take place around this time of year.” According to designers showcasing such a myriad of colourful umbrellas in sky promotes trade and commerce in the Agueda region and beautifies people’s daily lives that are living in this place.

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In this one picture we can see a worker painstakingly putting these pretty umbrellas in place. Sure there goes in a lot of effort to make this visual delight for the people around. But nevertheless the outcome is simply amazing.

Though Europe has an abundance of natural beauty in all its countries and their cities but Portugal’s Umbrella sky has a unique charm working for it. In some selected areas of Agueda the streets can be seen covered by these lovely umbrellas. If one is travelling nearby than this is a must visit place to see the beautiful canopy of umbrellas and if you are not travelling anywhere near Portugal then why not plan it now!

The Wonderland on Sea – Palm Jumeirah Dubai



The Wonderland on Sea – Palm Jumeirah Dubai

The Emirati city that believes in making world records, Dubai, is home to one of the most wondrous island settlement in the world. An artificial archipelago, constructed by Nakheel group, using Land Reclamation it is the first and smallest of the three islands planned in the Palm islands (Palm Jebel Ali, Palm Deira and Palm Jumeirah), it was the group’s effort to utilize the sea as land post the city being exploited vertically. Together these islands are to extend into the Persian gulf extending Dubai’s shoreline by around 520 km. Oh yes. There still are places that extend their shoreline instead of simply letting them denudate.

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Name Game

People ask why the name?  The 5×5 km Palm Jumeirah is named after its shape. The island is shaped in the form of a palm tree with a trunk, a crown and 17 fronds. It is surrounded by a 11 km crescent island forming the long breakwater. The crown is connected to the mainland by a bridge whereas the crescent is connected to the top through a sub-sea tunnel. This island alone has doubled the length of Dubai’s coastline. Even more wondrous is that this island is visible in all clarity from space satellites. So we to see palm trees from up above.

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The Architectural Wonder

Though most would debate if the word is architecture or construction, the use of a word is only insignificant to the technique of pouring sand fill onto the 10.5-metre-deep seabed. The island has been created using 94,000,000 cubic metres of sand and 7 million tons of rock.  The top 3 metres of reclamation was done by spraying calcareous sand over the surface of the rising island. This technique of dredging is also known as rainbowing. The process of reclamation was carried out by Dutch company “Van Oorg” at a cost of US$ 12.3 billion. Costly much? Would you be surprised when I tell you maintaining these islands is a different expenditure altogether- and not a thrifty one? Don’t be, that’s how money should be spent. Isn’t it?

We Connect

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The transport to Palm Jumeirah is convenient with a monorail connecting the Gateway towers at the foot of the island to the Atlantis hotel. I do not want to overstress on records, but this monorail was the first one in Middle East. This Monorail line has a planned extension to the Dubai Metro Red line making commutation extremely convenient.

Apartment Watch

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Your new apartment got finalized?  What? So Palm Jumeirah it is? You must be filthy rich, where did you land upon so much money? Pardon me for being slightly (maybe even overtly hyperbolic) but if not already that sure is going to be a trend of conversation for residents of palm jumeirah soon. The island which was planned to have signature villas, garden homes and canal cove  town homes as constructed by the Nakheels’ and more apartment building on flat type concepts as constructed by various real estate biggies and builders. The island’s housing when fully occupied would be one of the most densely occupied areas in the world with  high rise buildings giving ample space for a huge number of apartments. The escalated prices help no common man, though the investors are on a risky boat ever since the 2009 controversy surrounding the island and the price lowdown. Nevertheless, when the world is scheduled to end, who minds a home at one of the poshest locations in the world.

Luxuries Unlimited

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And when you talk Dubai, you talk big. I don’t say that, Mohammad bin Rashid Al Makhtoom does. For those of you who wonder who are the people I am naming, He is the Sheikh of Dubai. He’s made sure Dubai homes the world’s largest, biggest and the best. And so it does, adding to the super luxurious residential apartments are the well built hotels on the island. Worth a special mention is the Atlantis Resort that was the first one to come up on the island. Its inauguration event alone was testament enough to the grandeur. Other famous hotels include Kempinski hotels and Residences, Palm Jumeirah Residences, Rixos and Waldorf Astoria to name a few. All of these are luxurious properties where you splurge but never regret. The Atlantis has attractions such as a water park, the Dolphin Bay and The Lost Chambers which witness huge footfall of tourists and locals alike.

Celeb Watch

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What more? The island hosts, in all pride, the super luxurious, super hyped signature villas owned by the likes of Robert de Niro, Victoria and David Beckham, Shahrukh Khan, Abhishek and Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Brad Pitt… more villas, more names. And you have the audacity to ask me so? So I tell you, you stand a strong chance of banging into one of these to name a few as you walk the shore. Ofcourse they have private areas allotted but who doesn’t like unbarricaded life- that too on the beach? So the next time you find yourself lost in Palm Jumeirah, please look around and in case you find yourself around Jannat( Heaven), Shahrukh Khan’s villa, make sure you get a picture for me? Please? I’ll add it to my collection of over a hundred already. But the point here is that you are going to holiday with the celebs. Why don’t I hear the shrieks? Pretentious ones atleast? Anyone? You even get the bonus of banging into the superstars vacationing with their family at Atlantis. Still no? You are all pretty boring people I guess – How I wish to be in the world of the looking glass. (Lewis Caroll fans anyone?)

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Palm Jumeirah is not a place to miss. The fun, the thrall and the entire hype of being on a man-made island is worth every penny spent. Do not forget my suggestion fee though? Another picture of Jannat.

Madame Tussauds Wax Museum : Perfection Personified



Madame Tussauds Wax Museum : Perfection Personified

Madame Tussauds museum is a wax depository in London with branches in an exceedingly variety of major cities. It absolutely was supported by wax sculptor Madame Tussaud and was at one time referred to as “Madame Tussaud’s”. However the apostrophe is not any longer used. Madame Tussauds could be a major tourist attraction in London, displaying waxworks of historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and notorious murderers. Madame Tussauds is closely-held and operated by Merlin Entertainments. Marie Tussaud was born as Tussaud in 1761 in urban center, France. Her mother worked as a domestic help for Dr. Philippe Curtius in Suisse, Switzerland, who was a medico skillful in wax modelling. Curtius educated Tussaud the art of wax modelling.

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Madam Tussauds Museum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Tussaud created her initial simulacrum, of Arouet, in 1777. Different far-famed individuals she modelled at that point embrace writer and American Revolutionary leader. Throughout the revolution she modelled several outstanding victims. In her memoirs she claims that she would search through corpses to seek out the cut heads of dead voters, from that she would build death masks. Her death masks were delayed as revolutionary flags and paraded through the streets of Paris. Following the doctor’s death in 1794, she transmissible his Brobdingnagian assortment of wax models and spent subsequent thirty three years motion around Europe. Her wedding to Francois Tussaud in 1795 Lententide a brand new name to the show: madam Tussaud’s. In 1802 she visited London, having accepted a request from Paul Philidor, a slide projector and mental representation pioneer, to exhibit her work aboard his show at the Lyceum Theatre, London. She didn’t fare notably well financially, with Philidor taking half her profits. As a results of the Napoleonic Wars, she was unable to come back to France, thus she traveled throughout nice United Kingdom|kingdom} and Ireland exhibiting her assortment. From 1831 she took a series of short leases on the higher floor of “Baker Street Bazaar” that later featured within the Druce-Portland case sequence of trials of 1898-1907. This became Tussaud’s initial permanent home 1836. One in all the most attractions of her depository was the Chamber of Horrors.

Other famed folks were other to the exhibition, together with Nelson, and Sir Waltor Scott.  A number of the sculptures done by Marie Tussaud herself still exist. The gallery originally contained some four hundred completely different figures, however hearth harm in 1925, let alone German bombs in 1941, has rendered most of those older models defunct. The casts themselves have survived (allowing the historical waxworks to be remade), and these is seen within the museum’s history exhibit. The oldest figure on show is that of ma’am courtier. Different faces from the time of Tussaud embrace Maxmillien Marie Isidore de Robespierre and George III. In 1842, she created a self portrait that is currently on show at the doorway of her repository. She died in her sleep on fifteenth April ,1850.

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By 1883 the restricted area and rising value of the Baker Street web site prompted her grandchild (Joseph Randall) to commission the building at its current location on Marylebone Road. The new exhibition galleries were opened on 14 July 1884 and were an excellent success. However, the building prices, falling thus before long when shopping for out his relation Louisa’s  share within the business in 1881, meant the business was under-funded. A limited company was shaped in 1888 to draw in recent capital however had to be dissolved when disagreements between the family shareholders, and in Gregorian calendar month 1889 Tussaud’s was oversubscribed to a gaggle of businessmen light-emitting diode by king Josiah Poyser. Edward White, a creative person discharged by the new house owners to save lots of cash, allegedly sent a letter bomb to John Theodore Tussaud in June 1889 in revenge. The primary sculpture of a young Winston S. Churchill was created in 1908, with a complete of 10 created since.

Steve Jobs At Tussauds

Steve Jobs At Tussauds

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Madame Tussaud’s wax deposit has currently big to become a serious traveler attraction in London, incorporating (until 2010) the London Planetarium in its west wing. It’s dilated and can expand with branches in Amsterdam, Bangkok, Berlin, Blackpool, Hollywood, Hong Kong, Las Vegas, the big apple town, Shanghai, Sydney, Vienna and Washington, D.C. Today’s wax figures at Tussauds embrace historical and royal figures, film stars, sports stars and renowned murderers. referred to as “Madame Tussauds” museums (no apostrophe), they’re in hand by a leisure company known as Merlin Entertainments, following the acquisition of The Tussauds cluster in could 2007.Millions and uncountable individuals have flocked through the doors of dame Tussauds across the world since they initial opened over two hundred years agone and it remains even as widespread because it ever was. There ar several reasons for this enduring success, however at the guts of it all is sweet, old school curiosity.Today’s guests are sent on a singular, emotionally-charged journey through the realms of the powerful and celebrated. The museum-style ropes and poles have gone thus guests will really rise, shut and private with A-list celebrities, sporting legends, political heavyweights and historical icons, re-experiencing the days, events and moments that created the globe quote them. It is probably the best known form of modern art today.

The Mysterious Bermuda Triangle, Mysterious Devil Triangle



The Mysterious Bermuda Triangle, Mysterious Devil Triangle

This mysterious place situated in the western region of North Atlantic Ocean. It is also known as the Devil’s Triangle. A lot of aircrafts and ships have been lost and their disappearance became a mystery. This place is recognized by a lot of countries and people fear going anywhere near it. But the US Navy believes that the triangle of this kind does not even exist and they have not recognized this spot on the Geographic names. It is also not recognized by the ‘World Wide Fund For Nature’ who made a list of the moist dangerous places in water for shipping in the year 2013. Even the insurance companies do not consider the existence of this place and do not charge premiums for this area’s shipping. The disappearances of ships and aircrafts have led people to believe in some paranormal activities or existence of extra-terrestrial beings.

Different writers have given different set of vertices of this triangle lying in different directions. Some say that it has a vertex in Miami, in Florida Peninsula, etc. But the effective area of the triangle is estimated to be somewhere from 1,300,000 square kilometers to 3,900,000 square kilometers.  Many accidents have been reported but the exact details of the accident are never known because no one survived. Every writer has a different version of the story and different locations and type. But this place is not defined in any map of the government agencies of Unites States as their Board does not believe in the existence of any such triangle. Many ships travel daily from this place in America and Europe and also the Caribbean islands. A lot of travel between Florida and the islands is through cruise ships crossing this path. And not just the ships, even a lot of air travel is done through this route. Aircrafts, both commercial and private, travel over the Bermuda triangle toward Florida or Caribbean and South America.

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The history behind this place is traced back to 1950 on 15th September. On this day, Edward Van Winkle Jones published his article in the ‘Miami Herald’ about and alleged the unusual disappearances in the area of Bermuda Triangle. Again after two years, there was another mention of this place in the print media. After that, there was no end to the discussion and books started publishing and flooding the market. Then the discussion moved from the print media to the video world and documentaries and films were made. The most famous work on this place was done by Lawrence David Kushe, who was a librarian and wrote a book entitled: ‘The Bermuda Triangle Mystery: Solved’. He argued that the claims of other writers are unnecessarily exaggerated, and cannot be verified. His work exposed a number of inconsistencies and inaccuracies. To the untraceable leftovers, he said that those untraceable leftovers also exist in the Pacific Ocean and every other ocean. There is nothing very special about the place.

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There are many explanations proposed for this kind of accidents over the triangular area. One of the natural explanations of the whole thing is the Compass variations, which is the most believed explanation out of all. Sailors and pilots often use magnetic compass. People believe that there are some unusual and local magnetic anomalies in the area. There is no proof of the anomalies what so ever but the magnetic variations are still believed to exist. We know for a fact that the Compass shows the directions as per the magnetic variation of the magnetic poles of the earth. This also explains the accidents in the air.

But the authorities always go with the explanation that focuses on human mistakes. They believe that any loss of aircraft or ships and even the loss of human life is because of the human error. But human error does not explain the coincidence of those errors in the same area or region every time. Others say that this is because of the violent weather in the region which has powerful storms or tropical cyclones. This explains the thousands of lives lost in the region and ships and planes worth billions of dollars flown in water.

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There are a few groups of people who believe that the reason for these accidents and tragedy of the area is due to some sort of supernatural effect. There are people who believe in the existence of a complete continent of Atlantis over the area which eventually was drown in water and lost mystically. Another story connected to this one says that there is a submerged rock formation off the Bimini in Bahamas, and is called Bimini road. This makes a triangle of some sort. There is another story which is found funny by a large number of people and that is about the effect of UFOs (Unidentified Flying Objects).

Many writers gave a lot of theories and a lot of explanations for this mystical place. The writers wrote books and articles about this and many turned to be portrayed in documentaries and films which became very famous and people started judging the presence of the triangle and the existence of some sort of abnormality in the area. People started enjoying the discussion over time and many conferences and debates were organized to further continue to explore the place and travel near it.

The Beauty of Kathmandu, Nepal



The Beauty of Kathmandu, Nepal

We all know that Kathmandu also known as the “Tri-city” or “KTM” is the capital of Nepal. The agglomerate is the biggest urban agglomerate of Nepal. The core city of this agglomerate is the Kathmandu metropolitan city and some of its fellow cities are Thimi, Bhaktapur, Kirtipur and Patan. The population of the Kathmandu metropolis is around 975,453. The city area is 50.67 square kilometers large and has 19,250 per km2 inhabitants. The city lies on the bowl-shaped Kathmandu valley and is elevated at an elevation of 1,400 meters approx. the beauty of the place is expanded by the mountains surrounding the place. Shivapuri, Nagarjun, Chandragiri and Phulchoki are the four prime mountains. The Kathmandu valley is listed as the place in the country with the highest population density as twelfth of Nepal’s population is in the Kathmandu valley. The city of Kathmandu is rich in culture and has an amusing history. People of Kathmandu are very fond of religious and cultural festivals.  Most of the people residing in Kathmandu are Hindus and some follow Buddhism.

The economy of Kathmandu is basically from its tourism. It is ranked as the top travel destination place in Asia and is on the list of the top 10 destination places to travel in the world. There are three zones namely Janakpur, Narayani and Bagmati on the central region of Nepal. Kathmandu comes under the Bagmati region.  Many people visit Kathmandu for mountaineering and trekking on the famous Mount Everest. But there are many beautiful places in Kathmandu which people will want to see.

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“Durbar Square” is one of the popular place in Kathmandu which lies in the older city area. UNESCO has declared the area as the World Heritage Site. Kathmandu’s old Royal Palace and some magnificent temples are a part of Durbar Square. The Hanuman Dhoka is a famous temple in the Durbar Square. The temple is named after Hanuman, the monkey God. The Jagannath temple and the huge statue of King Pratap Mall are the attractions of the place. “Jhocchen” is the place which is minutes away from the Durbar Square. This is the place which was the resident of hippies in the past. This ancient area of the city is very interesting to watch.

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“Pashupathinath Temple” is a beautiful and famous temple placed on the banks of the river Bagmati and devoted to the Hindu Lord Shiva. The temple is situated five kilometer east of Kathmandu and has an immense structure. The roof is golden and two tired and the four main doors of the temple are of silver. . People from all over India come there to attend the famous Shivratri featival. Every year around spring this holy place of pilgrimage attracts thousands of Hindu devotees. Even some areas of worship are only limited for the Hindu people. People of other religions are not allowed to enter those regions of the temple. People can also have a sight of the incineration taking place at the bank of the river.

Another amazing image to see at Kathmandu is the “Boudhanath” stupa. This stupa is very old as it is said to be built in 5th century AD. It is one of the largest Buddhist stupas in the world which lies 6km east of Kathmandu. Thus, many Hindu as well as Buddhist devotees visit this temple frequently. Watching them worship is an amazing sight for the tourist also. There is one more temple named “Budhanikantha” which is situated 8km to the north of Kathmandu. The temple is at the grounds of Shivapuri hill. This statue of Lord Vishnu is made up of colossal stones and is very remarkable. The base of this massive statue is the bed of snakes.

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The hills of west Kathmandu has a long mythological Buddhist temple which is locally known as the “Monkey Temple”. “Swayambhunath Stupa” is the name of this sacred temple for outsiders. People can have a sight of many monkeys living in the region around the temple. This is the reason behind the name “the Monkey temple”. The stupa is 2500 years old and is at a height of 77m above the ground. The statue is painted with eyes on all the four sides of the statue indicating the all-seeing eyes of Buddha. The eyes also represent that the Buddha is watching over the people and is also watching the wrong and the right doers. This shrine of Buddhist is very famous. There is a temple of “Haratima” also where both the Hindus and the Buddhist can be found worshipping.

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The south of Kathmandu also has a temple “Dakshinakali” which is about 21 km from the country. “Dakshinakali” is the most beautiful temple in Nepal. From the temple there is an amazing and spectacular view of Himalayan ranges, beautiful landscapes and stepped farmlands. The sacrifice of many goats and roosters were taken to worship the most powerful Hindu Goddess “Dakshinakali”. This ritual is repeated twice in a week typically on Tuesdays and Saturdays. On the back journey from the temple you can find many Lama Monks chanting the prayers at the “Shesh Narayan temple”.

The whole place of Kathmandu is filled with many temples. The names of two other temples which are in Kathmandu itself are “Patan Durbar Square” and “Changu Narayan”. These two temples are also a delight to watch. Other than the temples Kathmandu is known for its breathtakingly beautiful waterfalls. Tourism in Kathmandu is promoted not by the king of Kathmandu only but also by the people of Kathmandu also.

The Islamic Pilgrimage: Mecca and Medina



The Islamic Pilgrimage: Mecca and Medina

Mecca or Makkah is a city in Hejaz, Saudi Arabia. This is the capital city of Makkah Province of Saudi Arabia. The population of this city is over two million people which is less than one-third of the visitors to this city. The number of tourists of this place is more than thrice the population of the city. But these visitors and tourists are not always present. They come every year during the twelfth lunar month of the Muslims known as the Hajj period in the month of Dhu al-Hijjah. On an annual analysis, it was found that over 15 million Muslims come to visit this holy city per year and mostly during the Hajj days. But there is a very weird rule and fact of the city which prohibits the non-Muslim people to enter the city, which is unfair to the world.

The reason why this place is so special and dear to the Muslims is that it is the birthplace of Lord Muhammad and is a site where the Quran was first revealed. Therefore, it is the holiest city in the Islamic culture and every Muslim is obligated to visit if he is able enough. This means if a Muslim fellow has enough money and physical fitness and is an adult, then he must visit Mecca once in his life. This pilgrimage is called Hajj. The direction of the place is the direction in which all the Muslims pray. Another Muslim pilgrimage is Umrah. This is not obligatory like Hajj but Quran recommends it.

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The pilgrimage is to visit the Masjid al-Haram, which is the world’s largest mosque. This mosque is popularly known as Haram, and the Grand Mosque which surrounds the Kabba. The buildings in Mecca are 1500 years old and most of the heritage is lost. During the pilgrimage, the crowd mostly goes out of the control and several incidents take place in such large number of people. Once in 1990, a ventilation system failed in the tunnel for pedestrians and it was very crowded during that time. Approximately 1500 people died by suffocating.

Until 1925, Mecca was ruled and empowered by descendants of Muhammad. It was in 1925, that the city was absorbed by Saudi Arabia. The city is very beautiful and very large. It is expanded tremendously far and has wonderful sights and monuments. The world’s 3rd tallest structure is in Mecca which is Abraj Al Bait, which is also famous as Makkah Royal Clock Tower Hotel. Mecca has many historical sites which has great architectural importance, for instance, Ajyad Fortress.

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Medina or Madinah is famous as the “Radiant City” was officially known as ‘al-Madinah al Munawwarah’. This city is situated in the Hejaz region to the west in Saudi Arabia and is the capital city of Al Madinah Province. The original name of this place was Yathrib which was personally changed by Muhammad to Medina which means ‘city’. The law here permits non-Muslims to enter the city but not cross the city centre. The historical city was oval shaped and was surrounded by 30 to 40 feet high walls build during the 12th century. It had four gates. Out of them, Bab-al-Salam is the most remarkable and most known for its beauty is famous as the Egyptian gate. It had gardens, plantations, yards and houses. But the city was demolished by the Saudi era and rebuilt with taking Al- Masjid al-Nabawi in the centre.

The city is second most holy place for Muslims after Mecca. This is because of the fact that prophet Muhammad was buried here. He was buried under the Green Dome and his followers Abu, Bakr and Omar were buried in the prophet’s house which is next to the Green Dome. The city was the power base of Islam where Muhammad and his followers: Abu, Bakr, Omar, Othman and Ali, developed the religion. This is the reason that the Islamic Calendar has Year 1 as the one when Muhammad and his followers emigrated from Mecca to Medina.

Medina is almost 340 kilometers (210 miles) away from Mecca and approximately 190 kilometers (120 miles) away from the Red Sea coast. The Hejaz territory’s most fertile part is covered by Medina. It has a vast plain and is surrounded by hills and mountains and has a great natural view in every direction.

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The major attractions of the city are its three oldest mosques. One is Quba Mosque which is the very first Mosque in history of Islamic religion. Second is Al-Masjid an-Nabawi and is called the Prophet’s Mosque. The third is the Masjid al-Qiblatain which is the Mosque of the two Qiblahs where the direction of Muslim prayer was switched. Other than these, there are the tombs of Fatimah, Muhammad’s daughter and the tomb of his grandson Hasan at the Jannat al Baqi across the mosque. The tombs of Abu Bakr, the first caliph and the father of wife of Muhammad and Umar, the second caliph are also located in Medina. But all the mosques are of the times of Muhammad. Under the Saudi rule, these have burned twice and reconstructed. Since the Saudi rule, many historical and religious places were destroyed.