Hōryū-ji is one of the seven great temples of Nara. Today we investigate the Pagoda at the grounds, said to be one of the oldest standing wooden structures in history. The tree used in the construction of the Pagoda dates back to 594 A.D. Can wood even survive that long!
We go on a tour of Gassho Zukuri Villages of Shirakawa-go and Ainokura.
I hike to the incredible cliff-diving Nachi Waterfall to witness its wild beauty. The Sanjūdō Pagoda in front of the falls creates one of the most beautiful scenes in Japan. The tall waterfall boasts the longest drop in Japan. One can drink the flowing spring water, supposed to have healing abilities, from the falls at the Shrine directly below.
We decided to do something different this new year eve. We walked down to Todaiji at midnight to usher in the new year with the blessings of the great Daibutsu. For it is only during New Year eve that the upper doors, in front of the face of the Great Buddha, are opened so all can witness the eyes of the Daibutsu.
I used to go past the Heijo Palace every time we used to drop in at Osaka. It used to look so beautiful in the night from the train. We finally went to the palace grounds today, to capture its majestic view. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, Heijo Palace used to be the emperor’s residence when Nara was the capital of Japan in the 8th century.
One cannot but feel tiny in front of Todaiji, home to the world’s largest bronze Buddha, housed in the colossal Daibutsuden Hall. Constructed in 752 AD as the head temple of all provincial Buddhist temples, it rose to become one of the most powerful temple in Japan, guarded by the fierce Sohei warrior monks.
I took the Nara Kotsu bus to explore the 7th century temple of Yakushi-ji in the suburbs of Nara. Known as the Temple of Medicine, Yakushi-ji is among Unesco’s list of “Historic Monuments of Ancient Nara” World Heritage Site.
Mani’s got classes today, so I ran off by myself to take a closer look at the beautiful temples of Kofuku-ji, some of which are said to be from as early as 700 CE.
Hampi is an ancient city on the banks of the Tungabhadra River. It used to be the capital of the Vijayanagar Empire where music, art and sculpture flourished. Join me on an exploration of over 300 exquisitely designed stone temples and ruined palaces of a vanished civilization.