Ayadar Malikmadove is the leader of the village of Yamg near Langar in Tajikistan. During my tour through the Wakhan Valley we stopped in Yamg and were treated to Ayadar’s famous hand crafted Guitars used for traditional folkk music of this area.
I was very honoured to be allowed to video him performing, and to have been a part of this moment. He also is curator for a small and personal museum of the history of the area and it’s people. If you are planning a trip through the Wakhan Valley Ayadar’s place is a must stop point.
Shah Jahan was a member of the Mughal dynasty that ruled most of northern India from the early 16th to the mid 18th-century. After the death of his father, King Jahangir, in 1627, Shah Jahan emerged the victor of a bitter power struggle with his brothers, and crowned himself emperor at Agra in 1628. At his side was Arjumand Banu Begum, better known as Mumtaz Mahal (“Chosen One of the Palace”), whom he married in 1612 and cherished as the favorite of his three queens.
Did You Know? According to one gruesome (and most likely sensational) story, Shah Jahan had his minions cut off the hands of the Taj Mahal’s architect and his workers after the structure was completed, ensuring they would never build another of its kind.
In 1631, Mumtaz Mahal died after giving birth to the couple’s 14th child. The grieving Shah Jahan, known for commissioning a number of impressive structures throughout his reign, ordered the building of a magnificent mausoleum across the Yamuna River from his own royal palace at Agra. Construction began around 1632 and would continue for the next two decades. The chief architect was probably Ustad Ahmad Lahouri, an Indian of Persian descent who would later be credited with designing the Red Fort at Delhi. In all, more than 20,000 workers from India, Persia, Europe and the Ottoman Empire, along with some 1,000 elephants, were brought in to build the mausoleum complex. Design and Construction of the Taj Mahal Named the Taj Mahal in honor of Mumtaz Mahal, the mausoleum was constructed of white marble inlaid with semi-precious stones (including jade, crystal, lapis lazuli, amethyst and turquoise) forming intricate designs in a technique known as pietra dura. Its central dome reached a height of 240 feet (73 meters) and was surrounded by four smaller domes; four slender towers, or minarets, stood at the corners. In accordance with Islamic tradition, verses from the Quran were inscribed in calligraphy on the arched entrances to the mausoleum, in addition to numerous other sections of the complex. Inside the mausoleum, an octagonal marble chamber adorned with carvings and semi-precious stones housed the cenotaph, or false tomb, of Mumtaz Mahal. The real sarcophagus containing her actual remains lay below, at garden level.
The rest of the Taj Mahal complex included a main gateway of red sandstone and a square garden divided into quarters by long pools of water, as well as a red sandstone mosque and an identical building called a jawab (or “mirror”) directly across from the mosque. Traditional Mughal building practice would allow no future alterations to be made to the complex. As the story goes, Shah Jahan intended to build a second grand mausoleum across the Yamuna River from the Taj Mahal, where his own remains would be buried when he died; the two structures were to have been connected by a bridge. In fact, Aurangzeb (Shah Jahan’s third son with Mumtaz Mahal) deposed his ailing father in 1658 and took power himself. Shah Jahan lived out the last years of his life under house arrest in a tower of the Red Fort at Agra, with a view of the majestic resting place he had constructed for his wife; when he died in 1666, he was buried next to her. The Taj Mahal Over the Years
Under Aurangzeb’s long rule (1658-1707), the Mughal empire reached the height of its strength. However, his militant Muslim policies, including the destruction of many Hindu temples and shrines, undermined the enduring strength of the empire and led to its demise by the mid-18th century. Even as Mughal power crumbled, the Taj Mahal suffered from neglect and disrepair in the two centuries after Shah Jahan’s death. Near the turn of the 19th century, Lord Curzon, then British viceroy of India, ordered a major restoration of the mausoleum complex as part of a colonial effort to preserve India’s artistic and cultural heritage.
Today, some 3 million people a year (or around 45,000 a day during peak tourist season) visit the Taj Mahal. Air pollution from nearby factories and automobiles poses a continual threat to the mausoleum’s gleaming white marble facade, and in 1998, India’s Supreme Court ordered a number of anti-pollution measures to protect the building from deterioration. Some factories were closed, while vehicular traffic was banned from the immediate vicinity of the complex.
n 2013 I had the great delight of visiting the Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden.
I would firstly like to thank and credit the Artists and creators of these wonderful Sculptures and apologies for not knowing their names.
Heralded as the first of it’s kind in the UK, The Hannah Peschar Sculpture Garden has been proudly exhibiting contemporary sculpture in a unique and magical environment for over 30 years.
Wat Rong Khun, better known as “the White Temple” is one of the most recognizable temples in Thailand. The temple outside the town of Chiang Rai attracts a large number of visitors, both Thai and foreign, making it one of Chiang Rai’s most visited attractions.
Wat Rong Khun is a unique temple that stands out through the white color and the use of pieces of glass in the plaster, sparkling in the sun. The white color signifies the purity of the Buddha, while the glass symbolizes the Buddha’s wisdom and the Dhamma, the Buddhist teachings.
The Wat Rong Khun was designed by Chalermchai Kositpipat, a famous Thai visual artist. To date the temple is not finished. Eventually there will be nine buildings including an ubosot, a hall to enshrine Buddhist relics, a meditation hall, the monks living quarters and an art gallery.
On May 5th 2014 a strong earthquake hit Chiang Rai. Although the white temple was badly damaged, Chalermchai Kositpipat decided to restore and further expand the Wat Rong Khun.
History of the Wat Rong Khun Towards the end of the 20th century, the original Wat Rong Khun was in a very poor state of preservation. Restoration works on the temple started, but had to be halted due to a lack of funds. Chalermchai Kositpipat, a artist born in Chiang Rai, decided to completely rebuild the temple and fund the project with his own money. The artist built the temple to be a center of learning and meditation and for people to gain benefit from the Buddhist teachings. Today the works are ongoing.
Wat Sala Loi, built in 1827 by Thao Suranari and her husband. The highlight to visit here is to see The ancient convocation hall. The hall inside the temple is in an applied Thai style in the shape of a junk riding the waves, the buildings was decorated by local Dan Kwian clay tiles to tell the life of Lord Buddha. The door is made of metal with raised designs of the Buddhist tale and the hall houses a large standing white Buddha image.
The amazing Heritage walk round one of my favourite Malay towns of Ipoh where the food is amazing too! The heritage walk is about 4 miles long covering most of the historically important places and might take approx. 2 hours to complete all the places.
In fact I am so keen for you to find out about Ipoh, I am attaching a link for 7 free heritage walk maps and info on Ipoh. Yep FREE!! Please subscribe and go to the download Below http://www.mediafire.com/folder/0u5sy…
During my road trip Last year in December 2017 I took a road out from Phayao toward the Doi Phu Nang National Park. About 10klm out there is a place edged by huge plastic sunflowers and a giant entrance and you can’t fail to see these amazing restored and fully working Classic cars and pick ups! They all have their papers in and some you can open the doors and sit in and have your photo taken. I have in my past been a great classic car fan and restorer, these I could not pass by and the quality of the restoration is as good as anywhere in Europe or America.
Hotan Sunday Market Hotan’ s bazaar is also called The Sunday market. Local people call it Chukubaza (meaning is low location market) located in the north-eastern corner of Hotan city. It is one of the biggest markets in southern Xinjiang. It has many special sections for the market. The Bazaar in Hotan is active every day, but the Sunday is special day, when it gets flooded by hundreds and thousands of people on Sunday. The kind of people who come to the market are people from seven counties of Hotan and some other prefecture of Xinjiang. They sell all kinds of special local Hotan such as beautiful styled dresses can be seen or bought and many sweet fruits and delicious dishes as well as snacks can be tasted. Minority Products and Souvenirs local made carpets and roll jade. local people say that it is possible to find everything accept Chicken milk, cows egg in Europeans style. While you are in the market, please remember the word “posh” that means get out of the way in Uyghur language, as soon as you hear this word, please watch yourself. The best time to go to the market is after 8:30 AM Xinjian time.
In 2012 I crossed from Kyrgyzstan in the the Western corner of north China, along my one month journey across China, I stopped at many places and this is a quick snapshot of one of my favourite Chinese Cities, Ürümqi.
A very big city that has managed to keep hold of it’s historical architecture and modern buildings in an eclective mix. Along with three amazing and beautifully landscaped parks along with their own historical buildings which have been made central features to value them and where they can be appreciated by many.
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.