The mosque was built in 2002-2004 on the initiative of Turkmenbashi and named after him. Its word-for-word translation means “the mosque of Turkmenbashi spirituality” or “the mosque of spirit of Turkmenbashi”. By the way the mosque is located in Gypjak – the Turkmenbashi native village which i visited in 2012.
During my stay in Bangkok during the funeral of King Rama 9 I visited the Erawan Museum on the edge of the city.
A fantastic place with an enormous three headed elephant on an equally gargantuan pedestal. Beautifully ornate and stunningly detailed inside you find two dragons curling their way round the interior of the building creating the spectacular stair case.
As you ascend through the three floors you are taken higher and closer to heaven where you can see a most amazing coloured stain glass ceiling. Above that yo reach the nirvana, or temple of Buddha with again such wonderful blue painted sky and gold adornments. Half way down yo can look out through a window (the elephants stomach) and see across Bangkok.
The Gardens are full of not only beautiful plants and flowers but also detailed Thai sculptures and water features. The Elephant itself weighs a hefty 250 tonnes and stands at 29 meters high and 39 meters long and made from Bronze.
Bokor Hill Station in Preah Monivong National Park, Cambodia was built in the 1920s by French colonists wanting to escape the heat and humidity of the capital Phnom Penh. The main feature of the resort was the Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino. Because of the remote mountain location, building the resort was labour intensive and nearly 900 people lost their lives during construction. Besides the Bokor Palace Hotel and Casino there was a post office, shops, church and royal apartments. At the time of its operation it was known for its luxury and grandeur and was one of the crown jewels of France’s South East Asian colonies.
In 2016 I landed in Thailand after 5mths in India, for a rest, well I was far to intrigued with the natural beauty of Thailand to stand still and Phu Phra Bat Park was one of my favourite first visits to the North East of Thailand.
I hope you enjoy it too and venture far enough up North to visit! Phu Phra Bat historical park in Udon Thani province in the North East of Thailand is a forested hill with natural rock formations shaped as caves with large rocky overhangs. The caves were used by ancient man as shelter and as temples where Buddha images were enshrined. What makes this site unique, is that it contains traces of several different civilizations and cultures spanning thousands of years. The hill contains traces of prehistoric man, the Dvaravati period and Khmer presence. The sandstone rock on top of the hill has been cut out during many centuries by glacier movement, wind and rain.
Some of the rock formations provide natural shelter, others were carved into by man thousands of years ago creating cave like structures. Many of the rock formations harbour ancient Buddha images and served as ancient wats (Buddhist temples). A number of walking trails have been been made through the park and there are a number of view points, from where visitors will have great scenic views of the surrounding area. Phu Phra Bat is set in a beautiful, natural and relaxing environment.
In December 1964, a cyclonic storm destroyed a vast part of Danushkodi, a massive tidal wave toppled a passenger train carrying 116 passengers and the Pamban Bridge which connected the island of Rameswaram to India was also destroyed in the storm. Over 1800 residents were killed in act of nature and most buildings and structures in Danushkodi were destroyed. It is said that the tidal waves battered the region all the way down till the entrance of the Ramanathaswamy temple of Rameswaram which was a main shelter point for people during the storm.
After this massive destruction, the town of Danushkodi was declared a ghost town by the Government and all remaining settlements were moved away for the town was stated to be “unfit for living”. Today, Danushkodi is a jeep ride away from Rameswaram. Hundreds of people visit the place to pay tribute to the ghost town. The skeletal remains of the Church building, the old Railway Station and the Water tank are reminders of a prosperous town that was here once.
We took a shared jeep ride to enter Danushkodi; from there, another local jeep took us on a thrilling ride to Land’s End, the tip of the island where we could see traces of the old town. A small settlement of fishermen now occupies the land.