Pyramids: sepulchres of the Pharaohs

Pyramids: sepulchres of the Pharaohs

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The sides of the Pyramids were originally clad with highly polished white limestone slabs and were topped by gold-plated capstones called pyramidions which picked up the first rays of the sun and these rays reflected off the cladding to make the entire pyramid glow with solar luminescence.

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Cairo, the city of a thousand minarets

Cairo, the city of a thousand minarets

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ghumakkar loves serendipitous moments, when one comes across something remarkable but totally unexpected. I had such an experience a few minutes after landing in Cairo. The drive to the hotel from the airport was rather uninteresting as the architecture was pretty drab, just row after boring row of grey, rectangular concrete blocks . All of a sudden, I saw a building which looked like a Hindu temple…

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The ghats of Benaras – a place like no other

The ghats of Benaras – a place like no other

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Numerous invaders came, ruled and left. All of them tried, in their own way, to superimpose their own ideas, their beliefs on the land they had conquered. Yet, in the end, they had to retreat, vanquished by a spiritual force that was beyond their comprehension. The all-knowing Ganga, unperturbed by such delusions of grandeur,  gently flows along these blessed ghats as she has been doing since the beginning of time.

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Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhism

Sarnath, the birthplace of Buddhism

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Sarnath, probably a corruption of Saranganath, is the birthplace of Buddhism. It is here, 26 centuries ago, that Gautama Buddha delivered his first ever sermon after attaining enlightenment. A massive monument, the Dhameka Stupa, was erected at this spot by the Magadhan Emperor Asoka.

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Kashi – a spiritual sojourn

Kashi – a spiritual sojourn

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Kashi has temples everywhere, a dozen of which are important; hundreds of smaller ones  crop up in unexpected places: along the river bank, in cul-de-sacs,  under trees and in various nooks and corners of its byzantine lanes. The origin of some is lost in antiquity, some of them are less than a century old but the holiest of them all, the Vishwanath Temple is the cynosure of Hindu pilgrims. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas (manifestations of the Lord as Light) of Saivism.

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