Features on Asian Art, Culture, History & Travel
The "Cloud Maidens" Of Sigiriya
"Sweet girl, standing on the mountain, your teeth are like jewels, lighting the lotus of your eyes.
Talk to me gently of your heart…
Who is not happy when he sees those rosy palms, rounded shoulders, gold necklaces, copper-hued lips and long, long eyes." - Graffito, Sigiriya Mirror Wall, c. 800 AD
The Architecture Of Samarkand
Timur, better known in the West as Tamerlane from his nickname Timur-i-leng or “Timur the Lame”, was the last of the great nomadic warriors to sweep out of Central Asia and shake the world. As befits a man styled “World Conqueror”, we know a lot about him - and not all of it good. In 1336, at Shakhrisabz in present-day Uzbekistan, the wife of a minor chief of the Mongol Barlas clan gave birth to a son with blood-filled palms, a sure omen that the infant was predestined to cause the death of many.
Rose-Red Caravan City Of Ancient Jordan
Not virgin white - like that old Doric shrine
where once Athena held her rights divine,
but rosy-red - as if the blush of dawn
which first beheld them were not yet withdrawn.
The hues of youth on a brow of woe
Which men called old two thousand years ago!
Match me such marvel, save in eastern clime;
a rose-red city - "Half as old as Time!"
Golden Lanterns Of Chiang Mai
Celebrating The Age-Old Yee Peng Festival of Northern Thailand
Yee Peng is a northern Thai term signifying the full moon of the twelfth month of the lunar calendar. In Chiang Mai, Yee Peng is celebrated as a religious holiday. Throughout the region temples are full as people make merit, whilst monks give special sermons and recite religious texts. Traditionally, scrolls illustrating these texts were hung outside the temples to help explain the monks’ readings, and in some small villages of the north this custom is still followed.
The Rich History Of Coffee
For lo! the board with cups and spoons is crowned,
the berries crackle and the mill turns round;
On shining altars of Japan they raise
The silver lamp; the fiery spirits blaze:
From silver spouts the grateful liquors glide,
While China’s earth receives the smoking tide.
- Alexander Pope, The Rape of the Lock, Canto III (1714)
Exploring Northern Thailand’s Oldest City
The quiet, provincial town of Lamphun just 26 kilometres south of Chiang Mai, is generally promoted as an enjoyable side trip from the northern capital. A combination of tranquil, lotus-filled moats, some of the most distinguished religious buildings in Thailand, and the story of Queen Chamadevi, combine to attract Thai and overseas visitors alike.
Venerating The River Goddess
Thailand’s Graceful Loy Krathong Festival
Each year at November full moon, people gather by stretches of open water throughout Thailand to celebrate Loy Krathong. Small but elaborate lotus-shaped creations bearing traditional offerings of flowers, incense, candles and a coin are floated in countless numbers on streams, rivers, lakes, ponds, and even the open sea to reverence and pay homage to Mae Khongkha, the goddess of rivers and waters.
Doi Chiang Dao
Mysterious And Majestic Mountain of Northern Thailand
"The peak of Chieng Dao stands boldly up, 7,160 feet above sea level. It is a very imposing limestone rock, as it springs almost perpendicularly from the plain to a height of six thousand feet." James Macarthy’s description of this eastern outpost of the Upper Tennasserim range, written a hundred years ago, was the first scientific estimation of the height of one of Northern Thailand’s most spectacular formations.