The Thinking of Speaking
Issue #8 March / April 2014
Where Are You?
by Sonja Krüger
March / April 2014 | 

This ancient historic town has been classified as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It was a bustling seaport during the time of Periplus and Ptolemy around the 1st century AD. It had become a major port city by the 7th century, when it was once described as ‘where the ships rode at anchor bent to the point of breaking laden as they were with wealth, big trunked elephants and gems of nine varieties in heaps’.

It is known by several names, but perhaps the best known by mariners is "Seven Pagodas", referring to the pagodas which stood on the shore, one of which still survives: the Shore Temple.

The city has numerous historic monuments built largely between the 7th and the 9th centuries. Many artifacts have been found in and around the area, including megalithic burial urns, cairn circles and jars dating back to the times of Christ. Chinese and Roman coins have been found there, which shows the port was an active place for global trade.

There are also many temples which show events from a Sanskrit epic. Rathas, or shrines, shaped as temple chariots are formed from a granite rock face, and other rathas are modeled after the Buddhist viharas or monasteries. The different shrines were dedicated to different gods and goddesses.

Today, this ancient city is largely a place for tourists, with roads to it having been made more accessible, although these are now highly commercialized with restaurants, resorts, amusement parks and traffic. Even the view of the ocean, once open and clear, is barely visible. With all the tourists, the city has become run down, but efforts are being made to protect and restore it.

Can you name this city and country?

Last month's answer: Braşov, Romania

Where Are You?
Writer: Sonja Krüger
Sekhar300: Shore Temple

All images are Copyright - CC BY-SA (Creative Commons Share Alike) by their respective owners, except for Petey, which is Public Domain (PD) or unless otherwise noted.


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