Saturday, May 14, 2011

The canals of Zhouzhuang

Big cities Chinese , can scare the tourists. They tend to be noisy, sometimes chaotic. Although many such features found in any city with an air of cities on the planet, the Chinese cities seem to reflect the vibrant spirit of the economy booming, the constant changes in infrastructure and works that do not seem to end.

On the contrary we find in Zhouzhuang (English link). To begin with, is a charming town, not a big city. But the main difference with the cities of China , is that in Zhouzhuang are not passed over obsessed with the heritage of the past. To make matters worse, the town is famous for its canals , which have earned him fame as the " Venice "of the East.

The first surprise, will meet the boats are a great way to travel in a city where the houses tend to have a ladder to die in the channels.

The situation of the city in an area of rivers, canals and isolated, has served to preserve it intact and nothing changes too. There is no shortage of picturesque stone bridges, boats that make gondolas, and above all, the atmosphere of the China traditional seems difficult to discover. Zhouzhuang is one of the attractions of the area east of the country, both to live with the risk becoming an "urban theme park."

Still time to enjoy it, and for that, you can walk in wooden boats canal tour, visiting the lake, ancient temples, historical monuments, cross the bridges that have carried pictures of Chen Yifei , and hopefully, attend the Festival of lanterns a couple of weeks after the Chinese New Year.

Zhouzhuang is very near to Shanghai , so well worth a trip of one day (or better, with a complimentary night). Located in the province of Jiangsu , in the basin of Lake Taihu , and more than 3,000 years of history as a community is without doubt one of the traditional jewelry of China.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Ellora Caves

Ellora Caves are one of the greatest wonders that India cherishes. No wonder they have been declared World Heritage Site. Nor is that they are in the state of Maharashtra, as in remote geological times a volcano in the region spent centuries vomiting lava. All the Deccan, the great plateau that stretches for much of the state, is covered with basalt, a soft stone that is left consistent styling with ease. The rest I put the religious fervor and artistry of the masons.

The abrupt abandonment of the cave temples Ajanta coincides with the flowering of Ellora, which nobody seems to have studied in depth, but that suggests a cause and effect relationship, as both sites were within a hundred miles away and linked by an important caravan route.

It also coincides with the beginning of the decline of Buddhism in Western India, fractured into multiple schools and doctrines that ended confusing to staff, and causing the return of Hinduism, the religion Florida mother, of which Buddhism is only a variant. Do not forget that Buddha, like Jesus in his time, never tried to create a new religion, but to systematize and providing a practical character to spread teachings of Brahmanism.

Unlike other notable caves used as religious shrines in India, Ajanta Ellora caves are unique because they represent the country's three major religions, Buddhism, Hinduism and Jainism, which is an extraordinary case of ecumenism. Together, but no riots, Buddhist caves, Hindu and Jain Ellora realize the wealth of a country's ancient religious, but also of tolerance and peaceful coexistence between different faiths that has traditionally characterized the Indian people. And I emphasize what the 'traditional', because in the past by conflict between Muslims and Hindus appear to have put paid to that splendid old tolerance.