Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Maijishan Grottoes

 The Maijishan Grottoes are a series of 194 caves cut in the side of the hill of Majishan in Tianshui, Gansu Province, northwest China. This example of rock cut architecture contains over 7,200 Buddhist sculptures and over 1,000 square meters of murals. Construction began in the Later Qin era (384-417 CE).

 They were first properly explored in 1952-53 by a team of Chinese archeologists from Beijing, who devised the numbering system still in use today. Caves #1-50 are on the western cliff face; caves #51-191 on the eastern cliff face. They were later photographed by Michael Sullivan and Dominique Darbois, who subsequently published the primary English-language work on the caves noted in the footnotes below.

 The name Maijishan consists of three Chinese words that literally translate as "Wheatstack Mountain", but because the term "mai" (?) is the generic term in Chinese used for most grains, one also sees such translations as "Corn rick mountain". Mai means "grain". Ji means "stack" or "mound". Shan means "mountain". The mountain is formed of purplish red sandstone.  They are just one of the string of Buddhist grottoes that can be found in this area of northwest China, lying more or less on the main routes connecting China and Central Asia.

Odd Games

                                                       01. Buzkashi
Buzkashi is the Afghan national sport. It is also a popular sport among the south Central Asians such as the Uzbeks, Hazaras, Tajiks, Kyrgyz, Kazakhs, Turkmens and Pashtuns. The Turkic name of the game is Kökbörü; Kök = "blue", börü = "wolf", denoting the grey wolf—the holy symbol of the Turkic people. Other Turkic names of the game are Ulak Tartish, Kuk Pari, Kök Berü, and Ulak Tyrtysh. Kökbörü is the most popular national sport of Kyrgyzstan. In the West, the game (Turkish: Cirit) is also played by Kyrgyz Turks who migrated to Ulupamir village in the Van district of Turkey from the Pamir region. Buzkashi is often compared to polo. Both games are played between people on horseback, both involve propelling an object toward a goal, and both get fairly rough. However, polo is played with a ball, and buzkashi is played with a headless goat carcass. Polo matches are played for fixed periods totaling about an hour; traditional Buzkashi may continue for days, but in its more regulated tournament version also has a limited match time.
02. Sepak takraw
Sepak takraw or kick volleyball, is a sport native to the Malay-Thai Peninsula. Sepak takraw differs from the similar sport of volleyball in its use of a rattan ball and only allowing players to use their feet, knee, chest and head to touch the ball. It is a popular sport in Southeast Asia. In Malaysia, the game is called sepak raga or "takraw". It is also thuck thay (Lao: "twine" and "kick") while in Thailand it is sometimes called takraw. In Myanmar it is known as chin lone. In the Philippines, besides "takraw" it is also known as sipa, meaning "kick". Similar games include footbag net, footvolley, football tennis, bossaball, jianzi and sipa. These similar games all involve keepie uppies. Wiki

03. Runs cheese
Horseback cheese - interesting sport championships are held annually on it in England, where the tradition for two hundred years. This is one of the strangest sports today. The essence of the game - is simple: the players run down the hill down to the head sliding down the cheese. Whoever he reaches the finish line first gets a prize that same head cheese. Competitions are usually held at the Cooper Hill, which is not quite normal hill. It is so steep and uneven, that if you start to run on it, no turning back. Each year participants "marathon" is a lot of injuries, and this could be a concussion, sprains, broken ribs, noses, feet, and many others injured. And yet it does not stop bored Brits to participate in this competition every year.

04. The Marathon "Man Against Horse"
This marathon - an unusual sporting event which is held annually in June in the town Lanurtid Uels in Wales. The game is quite simple: to overpower a running 22 miles (35 kilometers) and reach the finish line faster than anyone else. By means other people are riding. Runners have to overcome all the way near the real horses. If you have forgotten, horses are one of the fastest land animal planet. To cope with this task, you must be not only fast but also very sturdy. In 2004, the "man-lump" on the name Hav Lobby was able to reach the finish line in 2 hours and 5 minutes. It was the first person to win in these competitions. As he succeeded, remains a mystery.

05. Scuba diving on a bicycle
This is an unusual sport came with two eccentrics who seem to have touched something valiyskogo ale and come up with such an unusual sport game. Diving championships on bikes traditionally held every year on July 10. The aim of the game is simple: players wear fins, masks and snorkels, sit on the special bikes and recovering at the bottom of the pond from start to finish. This pond is about 2 meters depth and at length reaches about 50 meters. He who overcomes it all the more quickly the pond, wins. Reaching the finish line is not so simple as a pond filled with algae, mud, and it inhabited by various creatures, including leeches. Moreover, it is likely that you can swallow the dirty water.

06. Drag and wives
If you think that scuba diving on a bicycle in a swamp - a strange sports game, what do you think about sports dragging wives? This sporting event takes place every year in October in Finland and the United States. Believe it or not, but say that this sport came after a group of thieves began stealing other people's wives of unsuspecting husbands. Game rules are simple: competitors must run in the distillation, carrying a woman on the back (preferably his own wife). Those who manage to reach the finish line first, wins. In fact, dragged his wife in three ways: when a man throws a woman just over her shoulder, she clings to him or behind him, or he carries it in front of him in her arms. Participants should not just run, but also to overcome obstacles - a pond to swim, jump over fences, walk across the sand and so on.

07. Chessboxing
Chessboxing - a new sport, but everything is new - it is well forgotten old, though perhaps not entirely forgotten. This hybrid, which is a mixture of two completely different sports - chess and boxing. That is, competitors must be able to play good chess, and at the same time great boxing. It begins with what people are playing chess for 4 minutes. During this round, participants put on headphones, so they do not hear the cries of the spectators and commentators voice. After a round of chess it is time to go into the ring and 3 minutes to defend his honor in boxing. Rounds up to follow each other until someone wins. Participants can win if you put the checkmate the opponent, or sent to a knockout. If this happens, the judge announces the winner, according to the scoring.

08. Bossaball
Bossaball also very similar to volleyball. It is played on a court that is divided into a grid, and it involved two teams with many players. However, in contrast to the volleyball court, instead of a solid field of participants to move around inflatable trampoline. This coating allows players to jump very high to catch the ball or score. As sepak TACRO, this kind of volleyball is also very fun sport that requires acrobatic skills.

09. A blind football
This football is usually played by blind people or those who have serious vision problems. To keep things fair, those who saw anything should wear bandages over his eyes. In this game, players use a special kind of ball that does not jump, it is much heavier weight than regular football. It also produces the sound of the ball, so players can see where he is. During the game, participants can call the names of the members of his team, or a loud scream. In this case, the parties should focus on the fine and be able to clearly distinguish between the voices of his teammates.

10. Keeping a ferret in the pants
This unusual sport appeared in England. During the game, male participants have to put two ferrets living in my pants, then tie legs at the ankles and tighten the straps so that ferrets could not get out. Also, the competitors can not wear underwear. The winner is the one who can longest keep a ferret in the pants. Feelings should not be a pleasant one.

Beautiful Palaces Around the World

he word PALACE is derived from the Latin name Palatium, for Palatine Hill, one of the seven hills in Rome. A palace is a grand residence, especially a royal residence or the home of a head of state or some other high-ranking dignitary, such as a bishop or archbishop. In many parts of Europe, the term is also applied to relatively large urban buildings built as the private mansions of the aristocracy. Here is a collection of top 10 palaces around the world.

10. Winter Palace, St. Petersburg, Russia
 The Winter Palace in Saint Petersburg, Russia was the official residence of the Russian Tsars. It was designed by many architects, most notably Bartolomeo Rastrelli, in what came to be known as the Elizabethan Baroque style; the green-and-white palace has the shape of an elongated rectangle. The palace has been calculated to contain 1,786 doors, 1,945 windows, 1,500 rooms and 117 staircases. Its principal façade is 250 m long and 100 ft high. 

09. Summer Palace, Beijing, China
  The Summer Palace is the largest and best-preserved imperial garden in China. Its Chinese name, YiHeYuan, translates as ‘Garden of Nurtured Harmony’ or ‘Garden for Maintaining Health and Harmony’. As its name implies, the Summer Palace was used as a summer residence by China’s imperial rulers – as a retreat from the main imperial palace now known as the Palace Museum (or ‘Forbidden City’) – a pleasure ground in the countryside, yet near to the city.

08. Schonbrunn Palace, Vienna, Austria
 Schönbrunn Palace is a former imperial summer residence in Vienna, Austria. Schönbrunn Palace with its surrounding buildings and the huge park is one of the most significant cultural monuments in Austria. The castle was build to rival French Versailles in Baroque beauty and importance.

07. Potala Palace, Lhasa, Tibet
The Potala Palace, winter palace of the Dalai Lama since the 7th century, symbolizes Tibetan Buddhism and its central role in the traditional administration of Tibet. The complex, comprising the White and Red Palaces with their ancillary buildings, is built on Red Mountain in the center of Lhasa Valley, at an altitude of 3,700m.

06. Imperial Palace, Tokyo, Japan
  Tokyo Imperial Palace is the main residence of the Emperor of Japan. It is a large park-like area located in Chiyoda, Tokyo close to Tokyo Station and contains various buildings such as the main palace and the private residences of the imperial family. The total area including the gardens is 7.41 square kilometers.

05. Taj Lake Palace, Udaipur, India
Udaipur, the jewel of Rajasthan, has a regal feeling even in the streets and marketplace, a sense of pride surrounding every shop and square. Lake Palace (formerly known as Jag Niwas) is a luxury hotel, of 83 rooms and suites featuring white marble walls, located on a natural foundation of 4 acres rock, which sits on a private island in the middle of Lake Pichola. The hotel operates a boat which transports guests to the hotel from a jetty at the City Palace.

04. Dolmabahce Palace, Istanbul, Turkey
  The Dolmabahçe Palace in Istanbul, Turkey, located at the European side of the Bosporus, served as the main administrative center of the Ottoman Empire. The palace is composed of three parts; the Mabeyn-i Hümâyûn (the quarters reserved for the men), Muayede Salonu (the ceremonial halls) and the Harem-i Hümâyûn (the apartments of the family of the Sultan). The palace has an area of 45,000 m2, and contains 285 rooms, 46 halls, 6 baths and 68 toilets.

03. Chateau de Versailles, Versailles, France
The Palace of Versailles was the official residence of the Kings of France. It was originally a hunting lodge, built in 1624, by Louis XIII. It was expanded by Louis XIV beginning in 1669. He used it as a little lodge as a secret refuge for his amorous trysts with the lovely Louise de la Valliere and built a fairy tale park around it.  Jules Hardouin Mansart, the king’s principal architect, drew the plans to enlarge what was turning more and more into a palace from A Thousand and One Nights.

02. Buckingham Palace, London
 Buckingham Palace is the official London residence of the British monarch. Located in the City of Westminster, the palace is a setting for state occasions and royal hospitality. It has been a rallying point for the British people at times of national rejoicing and crisis.

01. Blenheim Palace, Oxfordshire, United Kingdom
Blenheim Palace is home to the 11th Duke and Duchess of Marlborough and the birthplace of Sir Winston Churchill. Set in 2100 acres of beautiful parkland landscaped by ‘Capability’ Brown, the magnificent Palace is surrounded by sweeping lawns, award-winning formal gardens and the great Lake, offering a unforgettable day out for all.