Tag: architecture

A little bit more from York

A little bit more from York

If you have never been to York you should. It is so packed with ancient stuff to explore. If you are interested in history and archaeology this place is for you as I heard our walking tour guide say ‘The history of York is basically…

Out and about in Kayin State

Out and about in Kayin State

We were based in Hpa-An for our few days in this area as most things you might want to see are within about an hours (or much less) drive in any direction. The town is not huge but has everything you need. It has a…

Taking a wander in Downtown Yangon

Taking a wander in Downtown Yangon

Downtown Yangon is an affordable area to stay with plenty of choice. The area is very interesting for a wander and accidentally discover markets and little industries almost on every road. The buildings are a mix of colonial styles which are looking very worn and tired but in a shabby chic kind of a way. There are a plethora of colours some faded some bright all producing a cacophony of colour and style creating great interest for the eyes!

 

Up one side street there was a fantastic market with plenty of very fresh fruit and veg and amazing sea food most of which looked like it had literally been caught an hour or so before. It was a shame I had no where to cook It would have been fantastic to rustle up something with those ingredients!

Further on down the same street there was a hive of activity making rice pancakes. Fascinating to watch how quickly they are created and how many clearly a staple diet in Yangon.

Another time I want to be like one of those TV chiefs who buys fresh produce from the market and suddenly produces a table laden with everything they need to cook up a feast and share it with the locals around…..maybe in another life!

Shwedagon Pagoda Architecture

Shwedagon Pagoda Architecture

There has been a pagoda on this site for at least 2500 years. The first one apparently was 8.2 meters tall whereas today it stands very tall and proud at nearer to 110 meters. It is a clear landmark on the Yangon skyline and very…

And then there was Angkor Wat (part two)

And then there was Angkor Wat (part two)

Angkor Wat is apparently the biggest religious structure in the world. It was first constructed in the early part of the 12th century as a Hindu temple but by the end of the 12th century it had become a Buddhist place of worship. It is…

And then there was Angkor Wat (part one)

And then there was Angkor Wat (part one)

I have so very many photos of Angkor Wat it will have to be covered by at least a couple of posts or else if anyone is actually reading this you may well loose the will to live!

First up sunrise. I had to get up at 4.30am for this and I did wonder if it would be worth the effort. Well thankfully it was. The sky went through a number of colour changes as the sun came up which was lovely to watch. It was also quite cool to arrive in the dark having never seen the place before and then wait for the big reveal to unfold. I would quite like to go back again for golden hour and sunset as I think that would be pretty spectacular.

If you are thinking of doing this then I recommend get there early because hundreds of people have had the same idea and you will want to get a good spot. Its quite hard getting a spot where there will be no people in your images but it is possible if you move around and spot opportunities. Or you can bring a flask of tea (I wish I had!) and find a bit of ancient monument to sit on and just enjoy the experience.

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Emperor Tu Duc’s Tomb

Emperor Tu Duc’s Tomb

Tu Duc was part of the Nguyen dynasty and the longest reigning Emperor of that period from 1848 – 1883. His tomb is in Hue and was designed by himself to make sure it was grand enough! To avoid any enemies digging him up his…

What to do with a day in Vientiane…

What to do with a day in Vientiane…

Vientiane is the capital city of Laos. It isn’t really like most capital cities I’ve visited it echoes the rest of Laos in its laid back ‘what will be will be’ attitude. The traffic is not to bad at all and it is very easy…

800 Million pounds worth of beauty 400 years ago…

800 Million pounds worth of beauty 400 years ago…

If you were to ask just about anyone to name something in India I suspect nine times out of ten they will say the Taj Mahal. It is one of those places that pretty much everyone has heard of and most have a vague picture in their heads of what it looks like (even if that is due to their local Indian takeaway having the same name!). It is a UNESCO world heritage site and is often included on more modern lists of the seven wonders of the world. I therefor couldn’t have a section about India and not include it.

The Taj Mahal was built between 1631 and 1648 in Agra by the Mughal emperor Shah Jahan for his favourite wife who had died. In total he had seven wives. It was to be a lasting memory of his love for her and the place she would be buried. The main structure is built from white marble and originally he had planned to build a black marble structure next to it for himself to be buried in but by all accounts the white one cost so much money there wasn’t enough left for the black one, but it is still possible to see where foundations were dug out in preparation.

The design of the Taj Mahal is superb the attention to detail is incredible, I think that is one of the things that impressed me so much as I am a stickler for the detail. Everything is symmetrical across the 2/3 mile site. All the architecture, designs and gardens come together beautifully with the Taj at the centre. The building itself is huge and unless you stand in front of it you could never really imagine how awesome it is. But one of my over riding memories is how intimate and small the inside area is in comparison. He clearly wanted his architect, thought to be Ustad Ahmad but no one knows for certainto build a prodigiously immense monument but at the same time create the internal design to reflect the Emperor’s close affection for his wife. The marrying of these two aspects make the structure utterly superb.

We were fortunate enough to have the pleasure of being shown around India by Raj. He said ‘There are two sorts of people in this world. The ones who have seen the Taj Mahal and the ones who haven’t’. He recommended that we go to a garden across the Yamuna river to watch the sun go down over the Taj from a distance and then the following morning early to go and see the early morning sun coming up from the site itself. This was such a perfect plan and I would recommend anyone planning a visit to do the same. During the day it gets packed with visitors so the earlier you can get there the better. One day I will visit again and sit watching the colours changing with the movement of the sun and wonder what the woman was really like that had inspired this incredible crescendo of creativity and design.

 

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Majestic Winchester Cathedral

Majestic Winchester Cathedral

Once upon a time Winchester was the capital of Britain (9th – 11th century). In 1079 the construction of the Cathedral was started but it took about 500 years to end up as it is today. It is a very magical building full of atmosphere…