Friday, April 29, 2016

Tibidabo Spain

Name : Tibidabo - Mountain where Jesus was first tempted by the Devil

Location :

A mountain overlooking Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain, Tibidabo stands more than 500 meters tall. The highest peak anywhere in the Serra de Collserola range, Tibidabo is home to an amusement park, a telecommunications tower, and Sagrat Cor, a Catholic church.

Legend :

Sagrat Cor is perhaps the most fitting of Tibidabo's attractions as this is the site where local legend says the devil tempted Jesus. The name Tibidabo derives from the Latin Vulgate Bible verses, Matthew 4:9 and Luke 4:6. The phrase, tibi dabo, means I will give to you. It was supposedly said to Jesus by the devil as they looked down from a mountain on the kingdoms of the world. The name of Barcelona's hill, then, refers to how it is the tallest anywhere around.


Designed by Enric Sagnier, the church took about 60 years to build. At the top of the church, Sagrat Cor, is a sculpture of the Sacred Heart by Josep Miret Llopart.

Tibidabo can be reached by a funicular railway, by bus, and by car. The railway, built in 1901, was the first of its kind in Spain. The amusement park is also the oldest of its kind in the area. Constructed in 1899, the park offers more than thirty different rides, some of them dating back many decades. A few of the original attractions are also still operating, including the Museu d'Autòmates (Mechanical Museum).

Websites :

El Peñón de Guatapé

Name : El Penon de Guatape

Location :

La Piedra Del Peñol (Spanish for "The Rock of Guatapé"), also known as El Peñol Stone or simply La Piedra (Spanish for "The Stone"), is a monolithic formation located at the town and municipality of Guatapé, 1 km inside the city limits (86 km northeast of Medellín or 2 hours by bus) in Antioquia, Colombia.

History :

The wide Antioquian rock base, called "batlolito antioqueño", and the "Peñón" were formed millions of years ago.

The Tahamies Indians, former inhabitants of this region, worshiped the rock and called it in their language "mojarrá" or "mujará" (rock or stone).

Description :

This rock is located in the rural area called "La Piedra", just 5 minutes from the town of Guatapé, and can be reached by road.

On the northern face of the stone there are painted large white letters, "G", and an incomplete "U" (only the single vertical stroke was completed). Guatapé and El Peñol had long disputed ownership of the rock, and the residents of Guatapé decided to settle the matter by painting the town's name on the rock in huge white letters. It did not take long for the residents of El Peñol to notice the work, and a large mob was assembled to stop it. Only the "G" and part of the "U" were completed.

The rock was first climbed officially on July 1954. In 2006, Luis Villegas, Pedro Nel Ramírez and Ramón Díaz climbed the rock in a five-day endeavor, using sticks that were fixed against the rock's wall. (It is unknown whether the Tahamies had a way of ascending the stone.). Climbing the huge stone took five days, but the top of the rock revealed beautiful views and a new species of plant, Pitcairma heterophila. The rock soon became a modest tourist attraction.

A new species of plant was found on the top of the rock, subsequently named Pitcairma heterophila by a German scientist.

A viewing spot was built on top of the rock, where it is possible to acquire handicrafts, postcards, and other local goods. It is possible to see the 500 km shore-perimeter dam. There are 740 steps to the uppermost step atop the building at the summit, a fact reinforced by yellow numbers also seen in the climb up the stairs.

In the 1940s, the Colombian government declared it a "National Monument"

Composition :

The Stone of Peñol is composed of quartz, feldspar and mica. The rock, which is almost entirely smooth, has one long crack, the one that the climbers used in ascending it. In the crack was later wedged a 649-step masonry staircase, that appears like a giant stitch holding the split rock together, the only way to get to the top of the Piedra de Penol. In the 1970s, the area was dammed, and the view from the rock changed: It now overlooks a dramatic series of lakes and islands.

Today, you can ascend the rock (apparently owned by a local family, though also designated by Colombia as a "national monument") for 2 US dollars. There you'll find a few religious relics and a three-story lookout tower.

Websites :ñón_de_Guatapé

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Wat Phrathat Doi Saket

Name : Wat Phrathat Doi Saket

Wat Phrathat Doi Saket is located in the Doi Saket district, just outside the city of Chiang Mai. Travelling to the temple by motorbike or car will take approximately 30 minutes from the center of Chiang Mai. Doi Saket is located on the road north to Chiang Rai (Highway 118), just before the climb up the mountain on the right hand side. The Doi Saket district is predominantly a rural farming area, with plenty of rice fields in the valley as well as orchards and other farming on the mountainsides. Travelinasia have attached a map to this article showing how to get there from Chiang Mai.

The temple at Doi Saket is said to have been built in the year 1112. The legend is that the Lord Buddha had come to Doi Saket for a short time, and was visited by naka whom he offered his hair for the purpose of worship. Shortly after he is said to have dissapeared, and this is the reason for the location of the temple. Thai artist, "Khun Chaiwat Wannanon" began painting the interior of the temple walls with spiritual Buddhist murals in the early 1990s. It took over 4 years for the murals to be completed. This is something that is unique to the temple at Doi Saket. Normally modern art is not featured in Buddhist temples in Thailand, so this is somewhat unique to Doi Saket.

Modern Buddhist Paintings at Wat Phrathat Doi Saket : 
There are lot of beautiful modern paintings in this temple. Ryan Zander who resides in Chian mai describes the paintings in detail in his blog post

Description :

The temple at Doi Saket is similar to the Doi Suthep Temple, yet smaller in size. The temple’s chedi, or stupa, glistens in the sunlight with both gold and silver. It is actually composed of a building that you can enter with the dome mounted on top. Inside, you’ll find a passageway to circumambulate the sacred relics kept here.  The entrance to the temple (as is the case at Doi Suthep) has a steep set of stairs leading to the temple. The most prominent feature of the Doi Saket Temple is the giant golden sitting Buddha (Phra Buddha Pathimakorn), visible from the road leading to the temple. The interior walls of the temple are decorated with modern spiritual murals, painted by Khun Chaiwat Wannanon. There is also a monastic school located on the grounds of the temple. There is a Chinese-style pavilion containing a shrine to Guan-Yin, the Bodhisattva of Compassion. As the East Asian version of Avalokiteshvara, Guan-Yin is technically part of the Mahayana pantheon and doesn’t play any official role in traditional Theravada Buddhist practice. Yet, the influence of China upon Southeast Asia is so strong that you’ll find Guan-Yin at many Thai temples, where she’s worshiped just as much for good luck as she is for striving to accumulate virtue. The Chedi features the relics of Buddha and a Golden Umbrella.

Aerial Photos

When you visit any temple, or government office in Thailand, you are expected to dress appropriately. Proper dress includes wearing long pants or trousers, with a sleeved shirt as apposed to shorts and sleeveless shirts. Women should dress conservative, without displaying skin, short skirts and tank tops are frowned upon. You will also be asked to take off your shoes before entering the temple, you will see hundreds of peoples shoes in a pile at the entrance. Once inside the temple, you should make sure not to offend anyone, keep your voice down and try to not to cause any disruption to other people. There’s a cute little coffee shop near the parking area if you need a refreshment.

All the photos and video of the temple that you see in this article are taken by "Heli-Asia", using their remote controlled helicopter with remote camera mount. The helicopter traveled to over 100 meters above the highest point of the temple and hovered there using a sophisticated flight control system that allows the helicopter to remain at the same altitude for a long period of time. The camera mount is controlled remotely from the ground, and there is a live video feed showing the viewer of the camera. It takes 2 experienced technicians to operate the helicopter and the camera. Using a series of still photos taken at various different angles, Heli-Asia also created a spherical image of the temple, the temple grounds and the Doi Saket district.

Websites :

Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang, Thailand

Name :  Wat Phrathat Lampang Luang

Location: Lampang Luang, Ko Kha, Lampang 52130, Thailand
Contacts: +66-5428-1359

Legend :

The fame of the site, and its preservation throughout the centuries, is largely due to the belief that the historical Buddha visited here about 2,500 years ago and donated a lock of his hair, which is now enshrined in the pagoda.

Description :

Wat Phra That Lampang Luang is a remarkable example of an ancient temple that has the distinction of being one of the few unique temples where maintenance work has not been undertaken yet being well preserved. It maintains its originality with sand covered grounds and bricks exposing walls.

There are several bullet holes on the railing of the temple, reputed to be fired by legendary folk hero Nan Thipchang, and ancestors of the House of Chao Chet Ton (Seven Princes) which ruled Lanna as a Siamese Vassal during the Thonburi and Early-Mid Rattanokosin eras.

When approaching the site, the first impression it gives is the tall, imposing walls that surround the site. The temple is built on a tiny hilltop in the midst of rice field. It’s believed to have been constructed around 700 AD with Burmese connection as seen in the flights of steps going up adorned by multi-headed Naga.

The star attraction of the temple is the 45 meter high pagoda which is adorned by many differently shaped and crafted gold plates, that sets it uniquely apart from most of the pagodas that are gilded with gold paint. There are two shrines on the sides and a gorgeous prayer hall in front. However, there’s something magical about this temple that no one could explain—There’s a room located at the back diagonal direction of the Pagoda with a hole on the door. When the sun light shines through the pagoda, you will see an upside down image of the entire temple reflected on the wall through the hole, just like a naturally occurring pinhole camera image. Yet, there’s NO lense being installed in the hole!

Websites : 


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