Southampton & Stonehenge

Southampton – the first stop in my Maha Yatra from Iceland to India

Almost 2 years in Iceland and I had become home-sick.  India was calling and on 7th Nov I finally flew from Iceland for my journey to India.  We reached Keflavik airport in Iceland well in time, got the boarding passes and enjoyed free meals and drinks in the lounge, waiting for the plane.  Lounge of Iceland Air is small but tastefully decorated.

In the lounge of Iceland air

The flight left on time and by 1930 we were hovering above London Heathrow.  London looked beautiful from above…sparkling with lights.

Magnificent London at night

Finally we touched heathrow passing the lousy Indian immigration officer we came out refreshed.  Shan had come to take us home.  He had hired a big car knowing how much baggage is carried by Indians, but he failed miserably, as we had total 5 suitcases which his hired Renault could not carry.  So 2 pieces were kept in lap and one kept at the leg space and shan’s wife had to sit like a baby keeping her feet in the lap of mom.

In 1 and half hour we reached Southampton.  I was excited as I was going to see a historic city from where Titanic sailed in April, 1912… The scenes of movie Titanic were coming before my eyes.. I wished to remember the scenes of crash and people drowning, but some unwanted scenes (like painting :) ) kept coming, which I forcibly removed.

Southampton is a small city…very quiet, beautiful and attractive.  There is nothing much to see in Southampton, but the Titanic Museum and remains of old Southampton fort.  Next day we started our exploration of Southampton.  We went to the market and saw the gate of Southampton Fort.  In WWII, SH was completely destroyed and it was re-built.  The pier from which Titanic sailed, was also destroyed and there stands the new port.

 

Main Southampton Market

Remains of Southampton Fort

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There was an Indian Restaurant near fort.  Restaurant was run by a Karnatic couple and was famous for south Indian dishes… yummmm  so many years I have not tasted Dosa so we sat in the Restaurants and had the dosa… not bad 10000 KM from dosa towns, it was a little costly but tasty.

Waiting for dosa

 

After filling bellies we went on tour of Southampton on foot, since it is a very small city it was possible to see most of the things on foot.  The steam Rails museum, which I had planned to see was closed for maintenance and I was sad to miss it, since I have loved locomotives since my childhood.

Central Library

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 We passed through the main city council, Southampton art museum and Sea-city /Titanic museum.  The museum has all the facts about Titanic, the stopped watch of a sailor and some items recovered from the sea-bed.   Englishmen are good business people and they have cunningly made a business of Titanic story and are selling beer  mugs, souvenirs etc in the name of the  doomed vessel.

Titanic Museum

After having a round of the city and seeing various places and malls, we finally decided to go to Stone-henge which is some 45 minutes drive from Southampton.

Nearing Stonehenge

Stonehenge is an ancient site supposed to be built about 5000 years ago.  It is European version of pyramids, only smaller in size, but equally fascinating.  Original stonehenge was a group of two circles made by stones.

Foto of the original stonehenge

But due to time and natural forces most of the stones have been displaced and what is left now is a semi circle of stones.  It is still a mystery as to how, 5000 years ago they lifted those heavy stones without any machinery.  Some people believed Devil erected those stones, some think same technique of sloped platforms were used to lift those stones, as was done for Pyramids.

Stonehenge as it stands now

 The stonehenge is also thought to be the burial ground of some ancient religions like pagans.  This thought brought shivers in my spine as I remembered the horror film “The Pet Sematry”, where the hero buries his dead son in an ancient cemetary and then the son comes back alive…but as a ghost with human body.  Another thought is that old pagan religions used this ground for some black magic rituals.
We reached the parking, purchased tickets and entered this wonderful monument.  We were given head phone which would tell the story of the place we are near to.  There were many visitors, as the day was sunny and warm.

que of visitors to Stonehenge

heeling stone is another big stone near stonehenge, which is said to be thrown by Devil (LOL)

Heeling stone

The breathtaking prehistoric monument located near Salisbury in the English county of Wiltshire stands as strong today as it did 3500 years ago. Documented as one of the most famous places in the world to visit, Stonehenge was built in three phases that consisting of over 30 million hours of labor.

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Me near Stonehenge

There are no written records as to why Stonehenge was built. There are many theories but no confirmations. Some theory it was a place of dying, while others theory it was a place of healing. Some reason Stonehenge was built for human sacrifice while others speculate it’s all about astronomy.

Some think it is a solar calendar that predicted the sunrise, sunset, eclipse, moonsets and moonrise while others reckon it as a place for worship. The reasoning for Stonehenge remains a mystery.

 

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Sun and Rainbow over Stonehenge

Some authors state the supernatural must have played a part in the construction of Stonehenge reasoning the stones were too heavy making impossible for anyone to move and carry therefore making Stonehenge a much bigger mystery.

Whatever the reason, the circular landmark of large standing stones is a wonder to everyone as Stonehenge dates back as far as 3100 B.C. the estimated built time.

Although total construction was not completed at that time, Stonehenge was built in three phases with a time span of 1500 years. There is also evidence at the construction site that it could actually date back as far as 6500 years.

Throughout history many archaeologists and antiquarians have visited Stonehenge to try and satisfy this monumental mystery. Whether this mystery will ever be solved, Stonehenge draws visitors from all over the world. It is a place to visit that will satisfy your own curiosity. If you’d like to come and pray or meditate or just take in it’s architectural beauty, Stonehenge is a place you will not want to miss. (Thanks to stonehenge.org)

It is quite possible this stone was used for healing purposes by ancient witches, and it lost its name and became Heeling stone instead.

After  enjoying this wonderful site, we returned home tired.   Next was the programme to see the Portsmouth which was also very near Southampton.

A view from Shan’s flat in Southampton

28 Comments

  • D.L.Narayan says:

    Great to see you back in action, SS.
    You have commenced your mahayatra with a visit to the maha monument called Stonehenge. It must have been a thrilling experience to visit that place.
    Looking forward to your blogs about the rest of the mahayatra.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks DL… i was missing Ghumakkar and my friends here. Tell me do you see difference in quality of fotos ? means with new gf3 has the quality increased from my prev. fotos ?

      • D.L.Narayan says:

        Lest people misunderstand, SS is referring to a camera called Panasonic Lumix GF3.
        Yes, there is a marked improvement in the exposure quality of the images. However, what matters most is the aesthetic sense of the person behind the camera and your pictures always were well composed.

  • Welcome Back SS jee ,

    After a long time and that too with a unknown place for me. Very beautiful , peaceful and calm place I feel , rather than hastening Mumbai.I would like to live sometime in these kind of places where there is peace in abundant.Stonehenge was one of the wonders and you are right when anyone looks at this kind of marvel , curiosity definitely arises to fullest. 30 million hours of labour seems to be impossible.

    For me the picture of the post was the view from Shan’s house . BEAUTIFUL.

    • SilentSoul says:

      tks visaalbhai… maje ke baat ye hai ki Shan ko bhi nahin pata tha ke uske ghar ke bahar itna achha scene hai.

      After seeing my photo, we went to see the scene again…. busy engineer ..no time to appreciate the beauty around :)

      Tks and it was good to talk to you on phone from delhi…. hope we meet soon.come to Iceland!!!

  • Kanu says:

    awesome experience and nice photos!

  • Bapu Nagar says:

    Nice write up SSji. Another Stone Mystery here –>http://coralcastle.com True but sad love story. We visited this place in Dec 2009.

  • Surinder Sharma says:

    Dear SilentSoul,
    Very nice description and good Photos. Your Camera doing great Job. Free meals and drinks in the lounge, really interesting, otherwise here in domestic flight we have to buy food items, On Heathrow airport buying a chocklate or water bottle is costly rest of world. The stonehenge looks beautiful which attract tourists. Thanks a lot for share wonderful journe.

    Wish I can afford gf………….3

    • SilentSoul says:

      Sharma ji tks for taking time to read and comment. I heard they have made a replica of stonehenge in America too… do you know it ? where is it ?

      long time and not seen your tlog ?

      • Surinder Sharma says:

        Dear SS,

        Last month I visited first time to US. No Idea about replica. Here in Canada also show some stones put on one another. I will share my US journey.

        Regards

  • Praveen Wadhwa says:

    Wow! A great post from a great man.
    It is nice to know about the places those are about unknown and not many people find beauty in small places. Most people find beauty where crowd goes like London etc.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Wadhwa ji. Your arrival on ghumakkar has become an asset for this site. I am reading your old posts and really appreciating you.

      Waiting for your series on Alaska….because Alaska is my dream destination

      Tks for your valueable time to read and comment

  • Ritesh Gupta says:

    Hello S.S. Ji

    After long time, Nice to read your excellent writeup post and knew more about Southampton & Stonehenge.. About Picture are very good, clear & detailed…..

    Thanks

  • Silentsoul says:

    tks Riteshji.

  • Wow SS ji,
    A great comeback. We all were missing you. Since last so many years I am reading about these stonehenge and the mystery behind them. But I could never thought of reading something about stonehenge on ghumakkar but you realized it.

    Thanks for sharing.

    • SilentSoul says:

      Tks Mukesh. I too missed ghumakkars and friend like you. Yes I think it is a FOG..only Nandan will confirm.

      tks for your comments.

  • Nandan Jha says:

    Long time SS. It was nice meeting you face to face. Today only (after I read your comment on Sushant’s post) ut was sad to know you were unwell, else we could have met again. Hope things are now looking good.

    Great pics with gf3 and to top-up what DL said, the horsepower is in the driver and not in the car :-) (this is my original he he). I knew about the place but had no idea on the origin so that for letting us know that it is still to be found.

    About FOG, Shalini Koli wrote about it as part of her larger story on London late last year. Please see here – https://www.ghumakkar.com/2011/10/30/namaste-london/ (we miss you Shalini, hope to see stuff from you soon)

    And the replica in US was written about by DC – https://www.ghumakkar.com/2012/01/24/starting-off-the-new-year-with-natural-bridge-and-foamhenge/ . DC told me that she would be writing more but probably got busy. :) DC, if you read this then remember me. :-)

    So do we see more of London in next post ?

    • Silentsoul says:

      tks Nandan… it was pleasure meeting u and vibha, and both of you were more friendly, warm and handsome/b’ful than projected on Gumakkar…LOL Yes I too had a plan for second meeting…but could not call u due to illness….perhaps now here in Iceland – InshaAllah

      tks for your comments

  • AUROJIT says:

    Hi SS,

    Nice post on Southampton and Stonehenge. Enjoyed reading and going through the pictures.

    Good sense of business; fully agree. Few years ago, while in Stockholm I visited a museum based on a ship (Vas or Var, perhaps). The ship, some centuries back had sunk on its maiden voyage, not very far from harbour mouth due to a faulty design (no cause for glory, certainly). Later on, in 60s/70s, it was extracted from the seabed and the recovered items placed in this museum. Now, the museum is a grand hit thanks to the most interesting manner the ship has been recreated and presented anew. Someone told me there that the footfalls received by this museum is more than Taj Mahal !!!!! ( has not ascertained it though).

    Certainly a lesson on how to develop on tourism.

    Thanks,

    Auro.

  • Nirdesh says:

    Hi SS,

    Nice post!

    Yes, we need to learn from the goras how to promote few pieces of stones.

  • Abheeruchi says:

    Hi,

    Thanks for introducing me to new place. Nice post, beautiful pics. I am very bad in Geography as well as in G.K., thus for me it is an introduction to a new place.

    Gud that I joined Ghumakkar. I am learning so many things here apart from the introduction of unknown places of world.

    Keep travelling,keep writing.

    Wish you and your family a very happy and prosperous new year

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