Saturday, August 28, 2004

Great wall - a spectacle not be missed




I did write about my china experience but felt I didn’t do justice with ‘Great Wall’ that deserved special mention. This regret was resolved when I read an article by 80-year-old woman in Emirates flight magazine. It made me write this.

First, Emirates offer free Beijing for ticket to Dubai- Shanghai, so do ask for free add on if you are on business trip to Shanghai. Once you are in Beijing, you must keep one day exclusively for Great wall.

One misconception I must clear. Since my childhood I was taught about Great Wall is the only man made monument visible from moon with naked eyes. This is no true –but now in understand that due to materials used it is not even visible from earth orbit. However it can be imaged through radar imaging. Anyway, it doesn’t take any importance of its opulence and magnificence of this grandeur engineering project mankind has ever undertaken.

Can a wall barely height of 8 meters and width of 6 meters be such spectacle? Yes it does, when you add length of 5,000 kms. running through five provinces of China and crowned by 25,000 towers. The beauty of this wall is that it run parallel to all valleys, ridges and mountain strips, so from any point it looks like winding dragon as much as your visible expanse can let you do so. Just to add bit of temporal element to it, it took nearly 2000 years to have this in present form. Though construction started in 7th century BC, by third century BC parts of wall were joined and each dynasty expanded its dimensions. What we see today is the form built during 1350-1650 during Ming Dynasty.

From Beijing, you must board bus early so as to be before noontime at Great wall. The travel is just about 70km but tourist bus takes to few other spots before you reach a place named Badaling. It doesn’t take long to get a glimpse of this wall from all directions. Base of the Badaling is transformed into very tourist friendly way. You can opt for cable car to go up or those with athletic heart and feet can do so on foot. But there is always opportunity to test your lungpower once you get down from cable car. You can reach top of Badaling that involves steep angles of wall steps. But as you do that, a mere glance sideways make you stop for breathtaking view of mountain range there by letting you gasp that precious breath which you were so desperately seeking. As you go around, it seems like the whole world has descended on this. Every nationality, race is there with fair mix of rural china visitors. No wonder nearly 80 million people have visited this place and add to that nearly 300 heads of state.

Climbing down appears relaxing but not that easy. After few walks, I decided to take sliding car that takes you through Bear zoo and lots of Eatable and Souvenir shops. Mao Tse Tung had said you would not be great man if you have not climbed Great Wall. I have become great man but I want you too become one!!!

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