Beijing Diaries: Memories Through the Years

When I was a kid, I heard that “One never reaches home, but wherever friendly paths intersect the whole world looks like home for a time.” I totally echo with this statement. After Changchun, Beijing is my 2nd home in China. Whenever I get Vacations, I used to go to Beijing to spend my vacations to hang out with my friends. With the love and affection of my friends Emily jiang, Zhiqin zhou and Haijun yang families, I never thought I was in a different place. I am more familiar with the roads and streets of Beijing than any other city(not even my home town :p ). In this particular post I wanna recollect all those nostalgic memories.

Night is to see the dreams and day is to make them true. So its good to sleep now and see the dreams.

Night is to see the dreams and day is to make them true. So its good to sleep now and see the dreams.

Great Wall of china- Changcheng长城 one of the world wonder... I'm lucky that I visited this wonder in all the seasons.. 2008winter, 2010summer & 2012spring.. Every time I visit this a new memory pops-up This mighty wall is seen from space: Based on the photograph taken by leroy chiao an American-Chinese astronaut, the China Daily later reported that the Great Wall can be seen from 'space' with the naked eye, under favorable viewing conditions, if one knows exactly where to look.

Great Wall of china- Changcheng长城 one of the world wonder… I’m lucky that I visited this wonder in all the 3 seasons.. 2008 Winter, 2010 Summer & 2012 Spring.. Every time I visit this a new memory pops-up.  This mighty wall is seen from space: Based on the photograph taken by leroy chiao an American-Chinese astronaut, the China Daily later reported that the Great Wall can be seen from ‘space’ with the naked eye, under favorable viewing conditions, if one knows exactly where to look.

Near Mao’s Mausoleum, I saw this imposing gate which was quite impressive. So, I walked closer and then read about this on my travel across china book then I got to know that how important this gate is to the city. So I decided to go in and have a closer look.  Apparently this gate is considered the Front Gate to Beijing in those olden days. Officially, this is called Zhengyangmen but it is more known as Qianmen which mean the Front Gate. When Beijing was established as the capital of China, they build a wall around the city for protection. The Inner City was totally surrounded by a wall and access into the city is through 9 gates. The wall stood for almost 600 years. The saddest part is that about 50 years ago, they … tore down the city walls! It is such a crazy thing to destroy something of such historic significance. But it was in those days of the Communist rule that was bent on destroying the past so that they can look to the future, something called the Cultural Revolution. In place of the walls are now wide ring roads and subway.

Near Mao’s Mausoleum, I saw this imposing gate which was quite impressive. So, I walked closer and then read about this on my travel across china book then I got to know that how important this gate is to the city. So I decided to go in and have a closer look. Apparently this gate is considered the Front Gate to Beijing in those olden days. Officially, this is called Zhengyangmen but it is more known as Qianmen which mean the Front Gate.  When Beijing was established as the capital of China, they build a wall around the city for protection. The Inner City was totally surrounded by a wall and access into the city is through 9 gates. The wall stood for almost 600 years. The saddest part is that about 50 years ago, they … tore down the city walls! It is such a crazy thing to destroy something of such historic significance. But it was in those days of the Communist rule that was bent on destroying the past so that they can look to the future, something called the Cultural Revolution. In place of these walls, there are now wide ring roads and subways .

The Beijing Railway Station(北京火车站):Is the first-rate important railway in China running mainly long-haul journeys, it is honored to be the greeting gate of the nation. Built in 1901, it covers an area of nearly 72 acres. It is opened in 1959 and was the largest train station in China at the time. Though superseded by the larger Beijing West and Beijing South Stations, this station remains the only one.

The Beijing Railway Station(北京火车站):Is the first-rate important railway in China running mainly long-haul journeys, it is honored to be the greeting gate of the nation. Built in 1901, it covers an area of nearly 72 acres. It is opened in 1959 and was the largest train station in China at the time. Though superseded by the larger Beijing West and Beijing South Stations, this station remains the only one.

Zhengyangmen gate was first built in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty and once consisted of the gatehouse proper and an archery tower, which were connected by side walls and together with side gates, formed a large barbican. The gate guarded the direct entry into the imperial city. The city's first railway station, known as the Qianmen Station, was built just outside the gate. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, the gate sustained considerable damage when the Eight-Nation Alliance invaded the city. The gate complex was extensively reconstructed in 1914. The Barbican side gates were torn down in 1915.

Zhengyangmen gate was first built in 1419 during the Ming Dynasty and once consisted of the gatehouse proper and a archery tower, which were connected by side walls and together with side gates, formed a large barbican. The gate guarded the direct entry into the imperial city. The city’s first railway station known as the Qianmen Station, was built just outside the gate. During the Boxer Rebellion of 1900, the gate sustained considerable damage when the Eight-Nation Alliance invaded the city. The gate complex was extensively reconstructed in 1914. The Barbican side gates were torn down in 1915.

Qianmen Dajie is a recently restored pedestrian street in the architectural style of old Peking with little shops & restaurants. Connected to Qianmen, the Dashilar area is a vibrant mix of historic shops and hutong streets.

Qianmen Dajie is a recently restored pedestrian street in the architectural style of old Peking with little shops & restaurants. Connected to Qianmen, the Dashilar area is a vibrant mix of historic shops and hutong streets.

Qianmen avenue is a 570 year old pedestrian market. Infact this has many craftsman workshops, warehouses and theatres in the Hutongs nearby. Without a visit to this place, your trip to Beijing will be incomplete..

Qianmen avenue is a 570 year old pedestrian market. Infact this has many craftsman workshops, warehouses and theatres in the Hutongs nearby. Without a visit to this place, your trip to Beijing would be incomplete..

China Architecture: Architecture and culture are closely related to each other. Many buildings contain cultural connotations. The cultural facts will help people better understand the architectural structure and the design.

Chinese Architecture: Architecture and culture are closely related to each other. Many buildings contain cultural connotations. The cultural facts will help people better understand the architectural structure and the design.

Tiananmen square is known as "the heart of China". Tiananmen Gate is brightly lit up in the evening.

Tiananmen square is known as “the heart of China”. Tiananmen Gate is brightly lit up in the evening.

Tuesday Thoughts: ‘Passions’

Life without a passion is like a curry without spices. A passion is born when you catch a glimpse of your true potential. Try to be more passionate about the things which you love. If you follow those passions, no matter what they are you’ll start loving yourself. Remember one thing nothing is as important as passion. No matter what you want to do with your life, be passionate and do them passionately.

"Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you." -Oprah Winfrey

“Passion is energy. Feel the power that comes from focusing on what excites you.” -Oprah Winfrey

Lord Kodandarama Swamy temple, Vontimitta

Sometimes, we are really not sure what we would end up with when we were on the verge of doing something… Same thing happened to me indeed one day .i.e., when we were on a road trip to Tirupati, we have come across Lord Kodandarama swamy temple and the beauty of this temple at the time of dawn has mesmerized all of us. We felt that even the sun and moon would have felt jealous by seeing this edifice.  It has indeed helped in embarking my own belief of ‘Art and Architecture has no death’.

Vontimitta temple complex Car'fie' :p

Vontimitta temple complex Car’fie’ 😉

Where is this?

Lord Kodanda Rama Swamy temple is located in Vontimitta  mandal which is about 25kms from the city of Kadapa and is close to Rajampet in Kadapa District, Andhra pradesh. This is a place of historical, spiritual  and cultural importance.

A Temple with Historical, spiritual and cultural importance..

A Temple with Historical, spiritual and cultural importance..

Do we really have any unbelievable facts in the world?

Well…!! I have heard few in this place. According to the legend, the temple had been constructed by two devotees (once they where burglars and they are transformed in to devotees) of Lord Rama, named ‘Vontudu’ and ‘Mittudu’, in one single day.

The center of Hindu culture is India, and we never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of our ancient civilization

The center of Hindu culture is India, and we never lost our ties with the architectural concepts of our ancient civilization.

Is it possible by any means??

Practically speaking ‘no’… Anyways lemme finish the story..After constructing the temple, they sacrificed their lives and turned into statues. I am really not sure how far it is true, but the reality what I have seen at this place is the beauty of the temple.. Which I undoubtedly felt with my eyes and senses…!!!

Look at those richly displayed intricate carvings..

These fine and rich carvings on the gopura are one of the highlights of this temple, No human tongue is able to describe its grandeur..

Well!! Where are the statues?

Just like you all, even I have had the same question. Well you can find those statues, even now, at the entrance of the temple.

Statues of Vontudu & Mittudu

Statues of Vontudu & Mittudu

Idol Significance:

The composite image in the garbhagriha of the temple is that of Rama, Lakshmana and Sita is believed to be carved from a single rock. Lord Rama statue was established by Lord Jambavanta. And it is the only place in India, where the Sree Sita Rama kalyanam is held at night Sri Rama Navami.

One of the Gopura's of this temple complex

One of the Gopura’s of this temple complex..

Historical Significance:

Kishkindakanda, one of the 7 kandas of the Ramayana, is believed to have occurred in this region. The Anjaneya Swamy Gandi may also be part of the Ramayana; it is believed that the Anjaneya Swamy Vigraham in Gandi is made by Sri Rama on a hill stone with his arrow’s point to acknowledge Anjaneya’s help him in finding  Sita Devi.

The main mandapam, built by the Vijayanagara kings, has a dancing Vigneswara. It is said that this is the only Rama temple in the country without Anjaneya beside the main deity.

The walls and pillars of the temple are embellished with intricate carvings. Near the temple is a Rama theertham, a Lakshmana theertham and a meditation hall. It is said that Rama and Lakshmana struck the earth with arrows to bring out the Pathalaganga to quench the thirst of living creatures.

Look at those richly displayed intricate carvings..

Look at those richly displayed intricate carvings..

A French traveler’s perspective:

A French traveler called Tavernier, had visited this town in 1652 and described the temple as one of the most beautiful temples in India. He was amazed by the devotion and dedication of the people here.

I felt my chest inflated after seeing this temple-  Arts(intricate carvings & sculpture),Architecture(Gopuras & Mandapas) & people.  I thought "this is what it makes me happy."

I felt my chest inflated after seeing this temple-
Arts(intricate carvings & sculpture), Architecture(Gopuras & Mandapas) & people.
I thought “this is what it makes me happy.”

Tallapaka, six kilometres from Rajampet town, is the birthplace of Annamacharya who wrote 32,000 keerthanas in praise of Venkateswara.

The temple is noted for its sculpture and is notified as an Ancient Monument by the Archaeological Survey of India. Putting aside accessing the facts this temple is really indeed a marvelous feast for the eyes if you visit this during the early hours of the day.

Weekend getaway to Warangal-II ‘Pristine Pakhal Lake’

Pristine Pakhal lake: 

After having lunch in Warangal we started to Pakhal lake. Our main plan is to visit Pakhal lake which is a man-made lake in the Pakhal wildlife sanctuary. It is about 50km east of Warangal and is well connected by road passing through Narsampet which is about 12kms away from the lake. It is one of the best spots for Bird lovers in our newly formed state Telangana. I would call this place as an Ornithologists hangout place.This lake is situated amidst undulating forest land hills and watching birds is a popular retreat for the tourists. This lake is constructed around 1213 A.D. by Kakatiyan Ruler, Ganapati deva and spread over an area of 30 km2.

This place is a paradise for bird lovers like me.. If you are in Hyderabad and if you are looking for a refreshing weekend getaway then you can plan a trip to this place..

This place is a paradise for bird lovers like me.. If you are in Hyderabad and if you are looking for a refreshing weekend getaway then you can plan a trip to this place..

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better..

Look deep into nature, and then you will understand everything better..

When nature speaks one has to listen.. This place is less explored. So thought of showing you people from my perspective

When nature speaks one has to listen..
This place is less explored. So thought of showing you people from my perspective

The shores around this lake is the Pakhal WildLife Sanctuary with an area of 839 km2. It is a dense forest shelter for a variety of fauna. We did not find any animals other than wild dogs, languor and monkeys. This place is a hub for snakes, didn’t even remembered how many snakes we saw on the road while we were cruising the forests.

"Human beings are great in their own eyes, But are not in the eyes of Nature" - Kensho Furuya

“Human beings are great in their own eyes, But are not in the eyes of Nature” – Kensho Furuya

In order to see birds it is necessary to become a part of the silence..

In order to see birds, it is necessary to become a part of the silence..

Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good deal like learning the secret of magic from a magician - Orville Wright

Learning the secret of flight from a bird was a good deal like learning the secret of magic from a magician. -Orville Wright

When I travel, I observe the beauty of the place.. That's me with the backdrop of Pakhal lake..

When I travel, I observe the beauty of the place.. That’s me with the backdrop of Pakhal lake..

Camping on the shore of Pakhal lake:

For a second, I thought I was in a monkey kingdom. Monkey’s were all around the place infact they were more than the tourists in this place. These were interfering in our business all the day and by the time it was dark they gone into the wild. By the time we were feeling good about this camping more than lakavaram, there entered the dragons, I mean insects and bugs…. Sorry, I have to say millions of insects which showed us the hell. Though we have preplanned for this camping by carrying ASV’s, DDT’s and some chemicals as a precautionary measure with us, everything went in vain..

My Beast -The car I drive say a lot about me...

My Beast -The car I drive say a lot about me…

Camping on the shore of Pakhal lake was really not upto our expectations..Snakes, Dogs, roaring sounds of Bears,  wild bugs and insects made our camping really an adventure and definitely  unforgettable experience(in otherway)

Camping on the shore of Pakhal lake was really not upto our expectations..Snakes, Dogs, roaring sounds of Bears?, wild bugs and insects made our camping really an adventure and definitely an unforgettable experience(in otherway)

 What to do..????

After waiting for some time, Around 9pm we’ve decided to shift our camping.. Once we have shifted our camping to someplace near Narsampet, for a second, it was a sigh of a relief for us which was good one but not memorable like Laknavaram or Goa.

The stars have their own language. You know. if you're careful, you can learn it.

The stars have their own language. You know. if you’re careful, you can learn it.

Tips from my Perspective:

1. Best time to visit this place is from September to March.

2. Beware of Monkeys, insects and wild dogs.

3. Not suggested for lonely travellers better to travel in groups.

4. If you are planning for a camping then plan it in feb- March. Don’t consider this place for camping from Sept-december instead go to Laknavaram.

5. There are shops in the near by village where you can buy food and beverages.

 

Weekend getaway to Warangal- I ‘Mesmerizing Warangal Fort’

It’s been a long time for us to spend some time in peace away from the hustling-bustling city life. So, we planned a weekend getaway to Warangal to refresh ourselves. Warangal the former capital of Kakatiyas is around 140kms away from Hyderabad. We are already behind of our schedule, Our main plan was to visit Pakhal lake for sunrise but unfortunately we missed it. So we thought of checking out the Ancient Warangal fort first.

Warangal fort, warangal, Telangana (2)

Kakatiya Kala Thoranam is a historical arch and symbol of Kakatiya Dynasty in South India. It is also called as Warangal gate.

Warangal Fort, now in ruins, was once an impregnable fort in the state. This is reputed for its architectural magnificence besides its history. The fort Warangal is built with Geometric intricacies during the reign of Ganapati Deva, in 1199 AD and was completed by his daughter Rani Rudramadevi in 1261 AD. The Warangal Fort displays a rare and exquisite Thoranam Architectural style. There are Thoranam Arches and the pillars are spread across an area of about 19 kilometers between Hanamkonda and Warangal.

This fort is testament to the greatness of Kakatiyas

This fort is a testament to the greatness of Kakatiyas

This fort has stood witness to many wars and revolts almost throughout its life as well the history associated with it. The special feature distinguishing the four enormous pillars of the gateway is that they have been cut from a single rock. Three protective layers ensure the protection of what was once the inner precincts and center of power.

The remnants of the fort comprise imposing gateways and tall, elegant towers, each almost 50 feet tall.

The remnants of the fort comprise imposing gateways and tall, elegant towers, each almost 50 feet tall.

Part of the ruins consist of delicate sculpture and stone work, motifs and designs delineating animals like lions and swans. Inside the fort area are the residues of temples razed to the ground by the early Qutub Shahi kings. The place is full of riches and resources from the past.

Look at those exquisite carvings.. Looks amazing isn't it?

Look at those exquisite carvings.. Looks amazing isn’t it?

The Kakatiya period was rightly called the brightest period of the Telugu history. The entire Telugu speaking area was under the kings who spoke Telugu and encouraged Telugu. They established order throughout the strife torn land and the forts built by them played a dominant role in the defence of the realm.

Even till today this Lion shaped pillar didn't loose its grandeur.

Even of today these sculptures didn’t loose its grandeur.

Swayambhu Temple:

At the centre of Warangal Fort is an archaeological zone containing an enclosure with the excavated ruins of a Siva Temple, demolished probably by invading armies from Delhi. These fragments, arranged in a large field, are from granite pillars, ceilings, and brackets, part of what must have been a monumental temple and sub-shrines. Seen here are multisection mandapa pillars and a sanctuary entrance frame with intricately carved capital and Siva dvarpalaka.

Nandi Idol stands as one of the special attractions in this fort.

Nandi Idol stands as one of the special attractions in this fort.

Ganesa Shrine:

To the right of the reconstructed linga shrine, another set of unearthed fragments are formally arranged as a Ganesa temple. To its right is an immense but broken ceiling panel containing a krittimukha framed by dense foliage and creeper circles.

Reconstructed Ganesa temple..

Reconstructed Ganesa temple..

Linga Shrine:

Unearthed blocks have been arranged to represent the layout of the original temple. At the west of the enclosure is this Linga shrine guarded by slabs with dvarpalakas carved in relief. They wear conical headgear, hold the trishul, damaru or sarpa and are flanked by diminutive attendants. The shrine is sheltered by a block that has a panel of thick creeper circles containing hamsa and other animals, held up by large mandapa columns.

Linga shrine: The linga is placed on a platform whose moulded base has a continuous procession of hamsas. Above this is a row of yalis and finally a row of lotuses and swans

Linga shrine: The linga is placed on a platform whose moulded base has a continuous procession of hamsas. Above this is a row of yalis and finally a row of lotuses and swans

The ASI has listed the remains as a Monument of National Importance.

The ASI has listed the remains as a Monument of National Importance.

Nearby Attractions:

Swayambhu temple: A self incarnated Shiva temple

There’s a small temple adjacent to Warangal fort called Swayambhu temple which has a Shiva linga inside it. It says that the Shiva linga has emerged itself from the ground and it is said that this is 850 years old temple.

Swayambhu temple

Swayambhu temple- has an self incarnated Shiva linga

Khush mahal:

This structure is said to be built over the site of a Kakatiya palace. May have been used as an audience hall by Shitab Khan, the 16th century Qutb Shahi governor of Warangal.

Khush Mahal- Master piece built by Shitab khan

Khush Mahal- Masterpiece built by Shitab khan.

Check my other blog where I’ve uploaded HQ pictures..

Continued…