The City Wall of Xi’An

In the ancient city of Xi’An, the huge fortifications built around the city, protected its inhabitants from invasions in the past. The Xi’An city wall is a magnificent, well preserved architecture, the pride of Shaanxi Province. It stands tall and strong, has passed the test of time and quite famous for the cycling spree. It also serves as one of the hot-spots for wedding photo shoots.

I was in this peaceful city of Xi’An exactly a year back, and I am very nostalgic about the events. I stayed at a traveler’s hostel and I met backpackers from around the world. After an evening of socializing with a few and talking about what our plans were for the next day, Luka a British traveler suggested we visit the Xi’An city wall. We decided to meet at the reception at 10am and then start our adventure. Vincent from Australia, Michael from Germany, Luka from Britain and I set out to see the magnificent city wall of Xi’An.

It was a beautiful morning, a cool wind blowing from the Huyain mountains, the weather was just pleasant. Michael was braving the cool wind with just a cotton shirt and was flaunting, with a few buttons open. He got many second looks since everyone else was wrapped in thick layers of woolen overalls to ward off the chilling wind, and a few passersby gave a friendly nod acknowledging his stunt.

We walked the sidewalks and navigated through the city with the help of Maps.me – it was a pleasant walk through the streets as Xi’An is a calm and serene city. We finally arrived at the north entrance of the wall and while we were collecting the entrance ticket we heard a roaring sound of drums and heavy footsteps. Out of curiosity Luka and I instantly ran to check what was happening, we took a turn, entered an arch, crossed a corridor and then we saw it. It was a show performed by impersonators of the actual warriors, a spectacular performance of the way the empire was run by the Shaanxi Warriors back in the days.

I was transported back in time and saw the love the warriors had for their land and the zest with which they pursued the attacks that came their way, to protect their land. They adorned heavy armor and it was just mesmerizing to hear the battle commands accompanied by heavy drum beats.

We have some nice pictures with them. The Xi’An city wall was an enigma in itself, we went there for site seeing but it was like a Pandoras box that opened up this awesome flash back to the past. I have fond memories of Xi’An and if you should find yourself in this beautiful town, do walk the roads at leisure and visit the City Wall. It will be well worth the time and effort.

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Bell Tower @ 西安市

The city of Xi’An in the northern province of Shaanxi is a city full of visual delights. I have to agree with a friend of mine, that until you visit a place you can’t tell what the place is really like. For, you could read endless articles, but only when you set foot in that city can you tell, if the place has a soul.

One  of the most gorgeous sights as soon as you land in Xi’An is the magnificent view of the Bell Tower. It’s so exquisite and wonderful to a traveller, who has set foot in Xi’An for the very first time. It’s bound to take your breath away. This is a sight so very pleasing to the soul that it’s comforting on various levels. Just the scene of the lit up Bell Tower and the view of the Drum Tower to the far west makes the trip worthwhile.

Xi’An definitely is a city filled with surprises. People are helpful and it’s a place of tranquility and calm. The weather in November was beautiful, the breakfast is the famous Dumpling with a nutritious drink made of a bean. The energy in the city is warm, laid back and I instantly connected to it. The welcoming atmosphere instantly puts your apprehension at ease.

The Bell Tower a structure of Brick & Timber – 40 meters high was apparently built for a purpose.

A famous legend about the Bell Tower:

A dragon found in the river running through the center of Xi’An would cause massive earthquakes and kill hoards of people. An official from the Xi’An administration ordered the blacksmiths to make iron chains thousands of feet long and restored the Bell Tower. The laborers toiled day and night in an attempt to suppress the dragon & to seal it from causing further harm. Since the Bell tower was established earthquake never occurred in Xi’An again!

This was one of the most fascinating tidbit about the rich Chinese culture. The Bell Tower, in the ancient times, served the purpose of signifying the time of day. But in today’s world, it’s a prominent landmark, the Muslim Quarters and the ever famous food street starts from the west wall of the tower.

It’s looks beautiful in all its Grandeur, being lit up so immaculately with colors so vivid and full of life.  It’s a tower with a purpose, beauty, class & radiates an aura of possessing a rich cultural heritage. 

Hampi – Stone Art 

Hampi a town in southern India, is of great historical significance & a UNESCO World Heritage Site. What’s beautiful is that the entire city is built of stone! It is an important part of the Vijayanagar Dynasty & the ruins now don’t just amaze everyone it also makes one feel humble standing in front of the Huge stone matap (the picture above).

Many tourists visit this unique architecture built centuries ago to get a feel of ancient India.

Virupaksha temple is beautiful and you will find elephants as you enter the gate, there is a section towards the east wall of the temple where the shadow of top of the temple is inverted. Some physics here. It’s the main temple of the city. The city is built on the river Tungabhadra and you can take a boat ride to cross over to the other side of the river.

I have been to Hampi twice and I loved it when the streets were full of local vendors serving eateries and handmade handicrafts. And my personal heaven was the cafe Mango Tree! A quiet serene place, seating arranged to face the river in front, the only sound would be the birds chirping and the distant view of elephants enjoying a wash by the Mahut. The food was as homemade as it can be, Nutella pancakes with a South Indian Filter Coffee would set the tone for the rest of the day.

You can rent a cycle for about One USD and explore the entire city. The road through the main city gate ia slightly uphill and leads you to the stone mantap, the lotus temple, and the elephant stables. You might want to take a rickshaw ride to the Vittala temple – this section is gorgeous, with the beautiful stone temples the architecture and the famous stone chariot.

When you reach the sunset point you can see that the entire town is built on rocks. It could get extremely hot, it’s advisable to visit Hampi in December & early January to avoid the relentless blaring heat.

This place is a visual treat to all artists and it will definitely turn back the clock to a historic era.