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Sunday, November 29, 2009

1,600-years-old Hanging Temple of Hengshan

The Hanging Temple, located about 60 km southwest of Datong, China in Shanxi province, is one of the world's forgotten wonders. Clinging to a crag of Hengshan mountain, in apparent defiance of gravity, it consists of 40 rooms linked by a dizzying maze of passageways. The temple is said to have been built by a monk named Liao Ran, during the late Northern Wei Dynasty (386-534 AD) and restored in 1900.

The temple was constructed by drilling holes into the cliff side into which the poles that hold up the temples are set. Interestingly the temple is dedicated to not just one religion, but three, with Confucianism, Taoism and Buddhism all worshiped within the temple and represented in 78 statues and carvings throughout the temple.

7 Greatest Underwater Ruins

Rank #7. The Lost Villages (Canada)
"The Lost Villages" are ten communities in the Canadian province of Ontario, in the former townships of Cornwall and Osnabruck (now South Stormont) near Cornwall, which were permanently submerged by the creation of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1958.

Rank #6. Dwarka Port (India)
Among the most exciting archaeological discoveries made in India in recent years are those made off the coast of Dwarka and Bet Dwarka in Gujarat. Excavations have been going on since 1983. These two places are 30 km away from each other. Dwarka is on the Arabian sea coast, and Bet Dwarka is in the Gulf of Kutch. Both these places are connected with legends and there are many temples here, mostly belonging to the medieval period.

Rank #5. Pavlopetri (Greece)
The ancient town of Pavlopetri lies in three to four metres of water just off the coast of southern Laconia in Greece. The ruins date from at least 2,800 BC through to intact buildings, courtyards, streets, chamber tombs and some thirty-seven cist graves which are thought to belong to the Mycenaean period (c.1680-1180 BC). This Bronze Age phase of Greece provides the historical setting for much Ancient Greek literature and myth, including Homer's Age of Heroes.

Rank #4. 8,000 years old Yonaguni-Jima (Japan)
Situated 68 miles beyond the east coast of Taiwan, Yonaguni Islands are a remarkable place for its rugged and mountainous coastlines. The special attraction is the submerged ruins located in the southern coast of Yonaguni: a superb 100×50x25 meters man-made artifact out of solid rock slabs stands erect at right angles. Its is estimated to be around 8000 years old, which is remarkably early for the kind of technology that has been used for carving it. Different theories exist about the possible identities of this structure.

Rank #3. The submerged temples of Mahabalipuram (India)
According to popular belief, the famous Shore Temple at Mahabalipuram wasn't a single temple, but the last of a series of seven temples, six of which had submerged. New finds suggest that there may be some truth to the story. A major discovery of submerged ruins was made in April of 2002 offshore of Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu, South India.

The discovery, at depths of 5 to 7 meters (15 to 21 feet) was made by a joint team from the Dorset based Scientific Exploration Society (SES) and marine archaeologists from India's National Institute of Oceanography (NIO). Investigations at each of the locations revealed stone masonry, remains of walls, square rock cut remains, scattered square and rectangular stone blocks and a big platform with steps leading to it. All these lay amidst the locally occurring geological formations of rocks.

Rank #2. World's Wickedest City, Port Royal (Jamaica)
One of the advantages of marine or nautical archeology is that, in many instances, catastrophic events send a ship or its cargo to the bottom, freezing a moment in time. A catastrophe that has helped nautical archeologists was the earthquake that destroyed part of the city of Port Royal, Jamaica. Once known as the "Wickedest City on Earth" for its sheer concentration of pirates, prostitutes and rum, Port Royal is now famous for another reason: "It is the only sunk city in the New World," according to Donny L. Hamilton.

In 1981, the Nautical Archaeology Program of Texas A&M University, in cooperation with the Institute of Nautical Archaeology (INA) and the Jamaica National Heritage Trust (JNHT), began underwater archaeological investigations of the submerged portion of the 17th-century town ofPort Royal, Jamaica. Present evidence indicates that while the areas of Port Royal that lay along the edge of the harbor slid and jumbled as they sank, destroying most of the archaeological context, the area investigated by TAMU / INA, located some distance from the harbor, sank vertically, with minimal horizontal disturbance.

Rank #1. Cleopatra's Palace in Alexandria (Egypt)
Off the shores of Alexandria, the city of Alexander the Great, lies what is believed to be the ruins of the royal quarters of Cleopatra. A team of marine archaeologists led by Frenchman Franck Goddio made excavations on this ancient city from where Cleopatra, the last queen of the Ptolemies, ruled Egypt. Historians believe this site was submerged by earthquakes and tidal waves more than 1,600 years ago.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Transparent Butterflies

TRANSPARENT BUTTERFLIES come from Central America and is found from Mexico to Panama. It is quite common in its zone, but it not easy to find because of its transparent wings, which is a natural camouflage mechanism.

A butterfly with transparent wings is rare and beautiful. As delicate as finely blown glass, the presence of this rare tropical gem is used by rain forest ecologists as an indication of high habitat quality and its demise alerts them of ecological change. Rivaling the refined beauty of a stained glass window, the translucent wings of the Glass wing butterfly shimmer in the sunlight like polished panes of turquoise, orange, green, and red.

MODERN TOILET Restaurant - Hong Kong

"MODERN TOILET" is a restaurant located in the heart of Hong Kong. Like it's name suggests, the entire restaurant takes place in the bathroom scene. There are no chairs to sit on in this modern-day dining spot. Instead you have toilet bowls to squat on as you eat your appetizer in a mini urinal. One would find themselves surrounded by the familiar dull yellow, green and white checkered tiles around the walls. A set of 2 bathtubs and shower nozzles are set off to the side to give spectators the true feel of the restroom scene, with common toiletries such as soap, towels and mats to entertain one's eye. Glass tables are set atop porcelain sinks while enormous plungers dance with feces-shaped lights that hang down from the ceiling.

Cultured entrees are held withing mini toilets or mini bathtubs, depending on the type of meal. Drinks are sipped from urinals. And elaborate and enormous desserts were served in urinals of even larger sizes. There was no question this restaurant was one of a kind with almost every guest recording the memory with photos.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

CHAND BAORI - Little-known Wonder of Rajasthan

Chand Baori (Chand means "Moon" named after the king Raja Chand and baori means "Well") is a locally famous step-well situated in the village of Abhaneri near Jaipur in the Indian state of Rajasthan. It was built by Raja Chand or Chandra, a Nikumbha Rajput during 8th-9th century of Chahmana Dynasty who was ruling Abha-Nagari or Abaneri during that time. This is one of the earliest wells in Rajasthan.

This step well is located opposite Harshat Mata Temple and is also one of the deepest and largest step wells in India. It has 3,500 narrow steps and 13 stories and is 100 feet deep.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Germany's Hanging Train [Amazing Engineering]

In German this railway is called "Schwebebahn", which translates to "floating railway" but in English it is generally called the "hanging railway" or the "suspension railway". The official German name is "Einschienige Hangebahn" System Eugen Langen. Given that the length of the track is just 13.3 kilometres (8.3 miles) it is more of a tram than a railway.

Most of the track runs above the Wupper river. The 3 kilometre stretch between Wohlwinkel and Sonnborner Strasse is called the overland track, which runs above the streets. The overland part of the track has a completely different design of the support pylons compared to the main part of the track that runs above the Wupper river.

Wuppertal was one of the first German towns to become industrialised. In the early 19th century Wuppertal was a prosperous town, larger than Cologne. But once the industrialisation really got underway in Germany, Wuppertal could not keep up with its neighbours. Thanks to its unique railway, Wuppertal receives a small but steady stream of visitors.

The suspension railway has been very safe. Only one fatal accident has happened, despite that the line has been operating for more than a hundred years. In 1999, five people were killed when a train plunged into the Wupper river. Unfortunately, it was an unnecessary accident. During weekend maintenance work, a piece of metal was forgotten on the track and the first train on Monday morning hit the piece of metal and plunged into the river.