Without a doubt Japan’s most recognizable landmark, majestic Mount Fuji (Fuji-san) is also the country’s highest mountain peak. Towering 3,776 meters over an otherwise largely flat landscape to the south and east, this majestic and fabled mountain is tall enough to be seen from Tokyo, more than 100 kilometers away.
Mount Fuji has for centuries been celebrated in art and literature and is now considered so important an icon that UNESCO recognized its world cultural significance in 2013. Part of the Fuji-Hakone-Izu National Park, Mount Fuji is climbed by more than a million people each summer as an act of pilgrimage, which culminates in watching the sunrise from its summit.
While some still choose to begin their climb from the base, the majority of climbers now start from above the halfway mark, at the 5th Station, resulting in a more manageable six-or-so-hour ascent. Those who do attempt the complete climb are advised to depart in the afternoon, breaking up the climb with an overnight stop at one of the “Mountain Huts” designed for this very purpose. An early start the next day gets you to the top for the sunrise.
Of course, for many, simply viewing the mountain from the distance, or from the comfort of a speeding train, is enough to say “been there, done that.”
Thanks : planetware.com
Big Ben Clock
What is Big Ben?
The Houses of Parliament and Elizabeth Tower, commonly called Big Ben, are among London’s most iconic landmarks and must-see London attractions. Technically, Big Ben is the name given to the massive bell inside the clock tower, which weighs more than 13 tons (13,760 kg). The clock tower looks spectacular at night when the four clock faces are illuminated.
Big Ben facts
Each dial is seven metres in diameter.
The minute hands are 4.2 metres long (14ft) and weigh about 100kg (220lbs, including counterweights).
The numbers are approximately 60cm (23in) long.
There are 312 pieces of glass in each clock dial.
A special light above the clock faces is illuminated when parliament is in session.
Big Ben’s timekeeping is strictly regulated by a stack of coins placed on the huge pendulum.
Big Ben has rarely stopped. Even after a bomb destroyed the Commons chamber during the Second World War, the clock tower survived and Big Ben continued to strike the hours.
The chimes of Big Ben were first broadcast by the BBC on 31 December 1923, a tradition that continues to this day.
The latin words under the clock face read DOMINE SALVAM FAC REGINAM NOSTRAM VICTORIAM PRIMAM, which means “O Lord, keep safe our Queen Victoria the First”
In June 2012 the House of Commons announced that the clock tower was to be renamed the Elizabeth Tower in honour of Queen Elizabeth II’s Diamond Jubilee.
Thanks : visitlondon.com
Located less than an hour outside Kuala Lumpur, the Batu Caves complex consists of three main caves plus a series of smaller ones, most of them containing statues and 100-year-old shrines dedicated to Hindu gods.
The main cave, known as Cathedral Cave, is at the top of a massive colorful staircase–make it all the way up the 272 steps, and you’ll find a space decorated with statues, altars, and lights. At the bottom of the stairs, a 43-meter-tall gold statue of Lord Murugan welcomes visitors.
Visitors are allowed to explore the caves on their own or can join a guided tour to learn more about the caves. During the Hindu festival of Thaipusam in January, thousands of people flock to the cave for the celebrations.
Thanks : PlanetWare
Petronas Twin Towers
The tallest twin towers in the world, the Petronas reach an impressive 452 meters high up into the clouds. The towers are 88 floors tall and have an impressive total of 76 elevators.
Built using reinforced concrete, steel, and glass, the two towers are connected to each other by a double skybridge on the 41st and 42nd floors. Visitors can make their way up here for stunning views of KL and the 6.9-hectare KLCC Park below–the views are particularly impressive at night.
While most of the floors on the towers are rented to companies–IBM, Microsoft, and Huawei Technologies all have offices here–the bottom floors of the towers are reserved for Suria KLCC, one of the largest shopping centers in Malaysia. With over 300 stores, an art gallery, and even space for a Philharmonic Hall, this retail and entertainment space will keep visitors occupied for hours.
Official site: https://www.petronastwintowers.com.my/en
Thanks : planetware.com
Da Nang – Vietnam
Da Nang marks the halfway point between the capital in the north, Hanoi, and Ho Chi Minh City in the south. It’s the fourth largest city in Vietnam. Apart from some shopping highlights and historical sights, the main reason for most travellers staying here is its proximity to the well-known My Khe Beach, Lang Co Beach, Hoi An and My Son.
Lang Co Beach is lined with palm trees, the water of the nearby ocean crystal-clear and enticing, lapping onto white sand. It is a peninsula with a sparkling lagoon on one side, and the beach on the other. The area is fairly under-developed, although recent years have seen many new hotels opening. My Khe Beach is more developed, since it was a popular spot for American soldiers seeking R&R during the Vietnam-US War. Water sport activities here are in abundance, and it can get very crowded over weekends and holidays. Da Nang’s coastline stretches 30 kilometres, renowned for calm, cool waters and also popular for fishing, water-skiing, diving, and yachting.
Explore Taj Mahal Uttar Pradesh
Taj Mahal is the epitome of grandeur and splendour, you cannot fathom the beauty of this white marbled monument unless you stand in front of it. As you approach Taj Mahal, it gradually becomes known to you that this is no ordinary monument, but a vision come to life! Moved by its beauty and the deep affection of Shah Jahan for Mumtaz, the Nobel Laureate Rabindranath Tagore called it “a teardrop on the face of eternity”. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it is located on the bank of the Yamuna River and is counted among the most popular heritage monuments in India.
Built between 1631 and 1648 AD, the Taj Mahal stands as the finest example of Indo-Islamic architecture, and is one of the seven wonders of the world. The timeless beauty of the Taj is a reflection of the profound pain and longing which Shah Jahan was overcome by after the death of Mumtaz Mahal. Today, visitors celebrate, reflect and admire the splendour of the Taj. Inside, both Shah Jahan and Mumtaz lie buried in their graves, divided in life, but united in death.
There is nothing ordinary about the Taj. From its minarets which are always bent curiously outwards to its inlay work, calligraphy, gateways, panels and arches, every nook and corner is a manifestation of divine grace that its builder seems to have been blessed with. Every intricate detail that catches your eye is worthy of being described in thousands way for its exquisite beauty. Unsurprisingly, Taj Mahal always occupies the first place in the heritage tourism attractions in Uttar Pradesh.
The Taj Mahal is the finest example of Indo-Persian architecture. It incorporates Persian, Indian and Islamic architectural styles. The main gateway of the Taj Mahal, which is the most photographed section of the monument, consists of a door carved from solid silver. It is believed that this door was built to prevent the tomb which is located inside from being visible from anywhere. The tomb, therefore, is only visible when you have arrived at the gateway itself. Look up though and you will find the ceiling decorated with verses from the Holy Quran in wonderful calligraphy.
The tomb itself is built in a rectangular shape and lies at the northern end of the Taj Mahal. While the ceiling is decorated with floral patterns, the floors and other areas of the room are adorned with floral designs. Here, it is interesting to know that the tombs visible to the public and tourists are not the real tombs of Shah Jahan and Mumtaz. The real ones are protected in a crypt.
One feature of the Taj Mahal which makes its presence everywhere are the lily flowers. This suggests the love of the Mughals for gardens. Indeed, some of the best gardens in India were built by the Mughals. The central hall is surrounded by eight rooms which are connected by a common corridor.
No description of the architecture of the Taj Mahal is complete without mentioning its dome. It stands like a crown on a king and plays a big role in lending this monument a feeling of eternity. Bulbous shaped, the outer doom stands at a height of almost 44.4m, while the inner dome stands at a height of almost 24.3m. It is popularly believed that this dome was built by Ismail Afandi from Turkey, a renowned palace dome designer in Turkey. Here too, the combination of Hindu and Islamic styles of architectures is visible in the form of “chhatris” (an umbrella like structure), which is a feature mostly found in temples.
Ho Chi Minh City
Ho Chi Minh City (Saigon) is the business and financial hub of Vietnam, with a prominent history going back hundreds of years. The Khmers originally settled the region, with the Vietnamese taking over in the 17th century. The French conquered Saigon, as it was then known, in 1859, and made it the capital of Cochin China in 1862, which resulted in numerous elegant architecture and broad boulevards that are still present to this day. At the peak of the Vietnam War in 1969, the city had 4.5 million inhabitants who were all evacuated when Saigon and the rest of the South fell to North Vietnam in 1975.
The city has recovered in the 30 years since then, with the current population at over 7 million. It was renamed Ho Chi Minh City, after the spiritual leader of Vietnamese Communism, but residents were so reluctant to adopt the new name that authorities kept the official name but the city centre is still called Saigon.
Today, Ho Chi Minh City is a popular tourist destination due to its fascinating culture, classic French architecture, and sleek skyscrapers as well as ornate temples and pagodas. The city is also filled with rooftop bars that overlook Saigon and beyond, while fantastic restaurants offer a combination of French, Chinese, and, of course, local Vietnamese cuisine.