Tuesday, April 19, 2011
Last but definitely not least is the largest temple in history and the inspiration to countless novels and action movies of Hollywood: Ankor Wat.
Angkor Wat [wiki] was built in the early 12th century in what is now Cambodia. The world famous temple was first a Hindu one, dedicated to Vishnu. In the 14th or 15th century, as Buddhism swept across Asia, it became a Buddhist temple.
The Western world’s got a glimpse of Angkor Wat when a 16th century Portuguese monk visited the temple and eloquently described it as "of such extraordinary construction that it is not possible to describe it with a pen, particularly since it is like no other building in the world. It has towers and decoration and all the refinements which the human genius can conceive of." His words still rang true today.
The Temple of Srirangam (Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, in the Indian city of Tiruchirapalli (or Trichy), is the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world (Ankor Wat is the largest of all temple, but it is currently non-functioning as a temple – see below).
The temple is dedicated to Vishnu, one of three Gods in Hinduism. Legend has it that a long time ago, a sage rested and put down a statue of Vishnu reclining on a great serpent. When he was ready to resume his journey, he discovered that the statue couldn’t be moved, so a small temple was built over it. Over centuries, the temple "grew" as larger ones were built over the existing buildings.
The Harmandir Sahib (meaning The Abode of God) or simply the Golden Temple in Punjab, India is the most sacred shrine of Sikhism. For the Sikhs, the Golden Temple symbolizes infinite freedom and spiritual independence.
The site of the Temple began with a small lake that was so peaceful that even Buddha came there to meditate. Thousands of years later, Guru Nanak, the founder of Sikhism also lived and meditate by the lake.
Construction of the Golden Temple began in the 1500s, when the fourth Guru of Sikhism enlarged the lake that became Amritsar or Pool of the Nectar of Immortality, around which the temple and the city grew. The Temple itself is decorated with marble sculptures, gilded in gold, and covered in precious stones.
Chion in Temple was built in 1234 CE to honor the founder of Jodo (Pure Land) Buddhism, a priest named Honen, who fasted to death in the very spot. At one point in time, the complex had 21 buildings but due to earthquakes and fire, the oldest surviving building is from the 17th century.
Visitors to the Chion in Temple must first pass through the largest gate in Japan: the two-story San-mon Gate. The temple bell is also a record setter: it weighs 74 tons and needs 17 monks to ring it during the New Year celebrations.
Another interesting feature of the Chion in Temple is the "singing" floor of the Assembly Hall. Called a uguisu-bari or nightingale floor, the wooden planks were designed to creak at every footstep to alert the monks of intruders!
The Temple of Heaven is a Taoist temple in Beijing, the capital of China. The temple was constructed in 14th century by Emperor Yongle of the Ming Dynasty (who also built the Forbidden City) as his personal temple, where he would pray for good harvest and to atone for the sins of his people.
The Temple’s architecture is quite interesting: everything in the temple, which represents Heaven, is circular whereas the ground levels, which represent the Earth, are square.
No one knows exactly when the Shwedagon Paya (or Pagoda) in Myanmar was built . legend has it that it is 2,500 years old though archaeologists estimate that it was built between the 6th and 10th century.
Now, when people say "golden temple" they usually mean that the structure is golden in color. But when it comes to the Shwedagon Pagoda, golden literally means covered in gold! In the 15th century, a queen of the Mon people donated her weight in gold to the temple. This tradition continues until today, where pilgrims often save for years to buy small packets of gold leafs to stick to the temple walls.
As if all that gold wasn’t enough, the spire of the stupa or dome is covered with over 5,000 diamonds and 2,000 rubies (there’s even a 76 carat diamond at the tip). And oh, the temple housed one of the holiest relics in Buddhism: eight strands of Buddha’s hair.
Tiger’s Nest Monastery, perched precariously on the edge of a 3,000-feet-high cliff in Paro Valley, is one of the holiest places in Bhutan. Legend has it that Guru Rinpoche [wiki], the second Buddha, flew onto the cliff on the back of a tigress, and then meditated in a cave which now exists within the monastery walls.
The monastery, formally called Taktshang Goemba, was built in 1692 and reconstructed in 1998 after a fire. Now, the monastery is restricted to practicing Buddhists on religious retreats and is off-limits to ordinary tourists.
Wat Rong Khun in Chiang Rai
Thailand is unlike any Buddhist temples in the world. The all-white, highly ornate structure gilded in mosaic mirrors that seem to shine magically, is done in a distinctly contemporary style. It is the brainchild of renowned Thai artist Chalermchai Kositpipat.
Actually, the temple is still under construction. Chalermchai expects it will take another 90 years to complete, making it the Buddhist temple equivalent of the Sagrada Familia church in Barcelona, Spain!
In 1992, elected a team of well-known local firm DP Architects (Singapore) and Michael Wilford & Partners (UK) to start the construction work of the arts center. To maintain the link between past and present, this arts center finally called the Esplanade - Theatres on the Bay.
Esplanade aims to be a performing arts center for all circles, and its programs reach out to a wide variety of audiences. The composition of the program covers all genres, including music, dance, theater and visual arts, with special focus on Asian culture.
Currently, this architectural icon with its distinctive twin shells is sited within Singapore's civic district, just by Marina Bay at the mouth of the Singapore River. Esplanade comprises two large halls: the 2,000-seat theater and 1,600-seat Concert Hall, and is equipped with two smaller studios, an outdoor theater and a mall. Two dome that became the location of Theatre and Concert Hall is designed with glass, to give the impression of open. To keep the center cool in the tropics, more than 7,000 pieces of aluminum retaining sun along with the cover-plated frame double glazing installed in order to support the steel to form a cover that makes the art center is a stunning architectural icon, in front of the Singapore skyline. Thorn-shaped cover that eventually became a popular nickname based on the local community's favorite fruit, Durian.
is the largest bird park in the world. A little history of Jurong Bird Park, first opened in January 1971 in an area of 20.02 hectares. The fund was first used when building this park of S $ 3.5 million, not including the cost of this park land. The concept of this park is designed so that visitors can walk the streets surrounding the different variants of the bird that comes from Southeast Asia, Africa, South America and the Lory Loft.
Currently there are 600 species of birds inhabit the largest bird park in the world. And the total number of birds around 8000an. Jurong Bird Park is one of the favorite attractions of tourists and local mancanenagara. Just imagine the total visitors per year just to reach to 900 thousand people. If you are tired to walk, provided monorail car (Panorail) that will surround this park so that you can enjoy the beautiful scenery along the life of birds of different species.
Friday, April 1, 2011
Kraton Yogyakarta (palace)
Ngayogyakarta Kraton or Sultan Palace is a palace of the Sultanate Ngayogyakarta who is now located in the city of Yogyakarta, Yogyakarta, Indonesia.
Sultan Palace began to be established by Sultan Hamengkubuwono first few months post Giyanti Agreement in 1755. The location of this palace is the former a pesanggarahan reputedly named Garjitawati.
Sultan Palace is also a traditional institution complete with customary holders. Therefore not surprising that the values of philosophy as well as mythology surrounds Yogyakarta Palace.
Part of the palace complex is a museum that holds various collections belonging to the empire, including a variety of gifts from the kings of Europe, a replica of heritage palace, and gamelan.
This Palace is one example of Javanese palace architecture of the best, has sumptuous hall-hall and a vast field, and pavilion.
If you visit the city of Yogyakarta is not complete if no visit to the Sultan’s Palace, around the palace there are many cool places to visit, there are many shops and places selling souvenirs souvenirs typical of Yogyakata.