Saturday, October 14, 2017

The 500-year old Mummy of Lama Tenzin

Lama Tenzin

Mummification – Embalming & Enfolded in Linen

 
Normal mummification seems to be quite exceptional which needs settings of great temperature together with dry air in order to preserve the body. Several of the mummified bodies seen in museums and text-books had been mummified with the help of chemical process known as embalming and thereafter enfolded in linen.

However, the Buddhist monks in Japan and Tibet seem to have a unique way of mummification and when the monk is alive he tends to have a gradual process of starving and termination of eating barley, rice and been that have a tendency of adding fat to the body. Moreover in preparation for death, he has candles along his skin, which dries it out. The monk is said to die of starvation in a seated position and the fat decomposes after death.

On eliminating the body of fat, the monk can be preserved in a better manner. After his death, he is placed in an underground room for three years to continue the process of drying once again and treated with candles whereby the monk tends to become a statue in prayer. An earthquake that had taken place in 1975 in northern Indian had exposed an old tomb comprising of the mummified body of monk Sangha Tenzin.
 

Preserved with Skin Intact

 
The local police had excavated the tomb in 2004 and had discovered the mummified body which was amazingly well preserved with the skin intact and with hair on his head. He is said to have died in a sitting position having a rope around the neck and thighs. This is an obscure practise which has been recorded in some of the documents of the Buddhist.

A consulting scholar at the University of Pennsylvania, Museum of Archaeology and Anthropology, Victor Mair had quoted that the mummy had been at least 500 years old. It is a strange fact that the manner of the mummified body seems to be a natural one with no chemicals utilised in order to preserve the same and it seems to have a certain kind of freshness. As per the report, the mummified body had been preserved for its age.

Local legends claim that he had requested his followers to preserve him during a scorpion infestation in that area and after his spirit had left his body, a rainbow seemed to appear and the scorpions had disappeared.
 

Mummy – Sangha Tenzin

 
The town is said to be around 30 miles from the Tabo Monastery which dates back to 996 CE. The mummified body of Sangha Tenzin is said to be on display in Gue village in the cold and remote Spiti district in a temple two miles from where he had been discovered, in Himachal Pradesh region on the border of Tibet around 6000 metres above sea level. It seems too difficult to reach the town since it is controlled by the Indo-Tibetan Border Police and secluded in the Himalayas.

The temple where the mummy is placed for display is open to the visitors who intends visiting that place. The mummy of Sangha Tenzin is not the only lonely mummy in that region but there are other mummified bodies too in Tibet which had been buried by the Tibetan immediately after the invasion of the Chinese.

Monday, October 9, 2017

Santa Dead, Archaeologists Say


Santa – St. Nicholas – Gift-Giving & Kindness

During Christmas season, parents shared some interesting details with their kids regarding Santa coming and dropping presents as per their requests which had to be sent to him in advance. Saint Nicholas of Myra, presently Demre, had been popular for his secret gift-giving and kindness. Archaeologists in southern Turkey had informed that they have found the tomb of the original Santa Claus known as St. Nicholas which gave rise to the legend of Santa Claus, below his namesake church in the vicinity of the Mediterranean Sea.

The researchers had unearthed an intact temple beneath the Saint Nicholas Church in the Demre district. A special area had been located in the temple at the time of scientific and technological works with assumptions that the tomb could have been buried there. Researchers discovered the untouched shrine while performing digital surveys beneath the surface of the church.

Archaeologists leading surveys at the church in Demre discovered gaps below it and informed that the shrine is beneath the church which has not been touched. Cemil Karabayram, head of Antalya’s Monument Authority had informed the Turkish Hurriyet Daily News that they were of the belief that this shrine has not been damaged at all though it seems very difficult to get to it due to the mosaics on the floor.

Patron Saint of Sailors 

Karabayram informed the newspaper that he is assertive that archaeologist could reach the tomb. He believes that almost 1,700 years after the death of St. Nicholas, Santa would give another gift to the people of Demre in the form of Tourism dollar. Researchers had been working on the excavation for three months with a CT scan, a geo-radar together with eight academics that had been brought in for the excavation work at the final stage. Karabayram had commented that the world’s eyes will be set on here and that they claim St. Nicholas had been placed in this temple without any damage.

He informed that they were at the last stage. St. Nicholas as Santa was well-known for his generous act of kindness and people believed that he placed coins in the shoes of those who left them out for him on his feast day which falls on December 6. Some state that he had been a monk who gave away his immense legacy and chose to reach out to the poor and the sick. Besides this Santa had also been a patron saint of sailors and in particular was very fond of children.

Father Christmas – Europe 

There had been a strange story, more Halloween than Christmas, regarding Santa - St. Nicholas wherein he had saved three children who had been enticed into the controls of an evil butcher. In the 16th century St. Nicholas had begun on his modern, candy-cane hued form in imaginations and images and in Europe he was considered as Father Christmas. Santa is now ingrained in the Christmas dictionary, as the rosy-cheeked image of Christmas who is the topic of movies, constant parental fabrications and debates regarding infancy materialism.

There had been an annual debate on whether it was okay to represent Santa as only white. Last year there had been a photograph of Santa with a shovel near a fence on the border of U.S. with Mexico, a taunt at the immigration policies of Trump. Besides that there was a Santa who had been called a liar for a tale told to a dying child that he was a number one elf of Santa. However, through all this, the remains of the real-life St. Nicholas had actually been the subject of centuries old situation of false identity and grave robbery.

Inspiration for Dutch Figure Sinterklass

St. Nicholas, as per the Telegraph, had died in 343 AD and had been laid to rest at St. Nicholas church in Demre on the Mediterranean coast of Turkey. Later on he was known as Father Christmas in the 16th century and had been an inspiration for the Dutch figure Sinterklass which had been utilised as the model for Santa Claus.

The researchers had informed that till now they were of the belief that the bones of Santa - St. Nicholas were in Italy. They had studied all the relevant documents between 1942 and 1966 from the notes that were available there. As per these notes, the church had been demolished and rebuilt. During the reconstruction of the church, the traders in Bari had taken the bones.

Apparently, the Telegraph had reported that in 1087, merchants had excavated his bones and had smuggled the same to the Italian city of Bari. It is still said to be a holy site, where the Christians visit it to pay homage to St. Nicholas, - Santa. The Telegraph has reported that the archaeologists state that the pilgrims to the Basilica di San Nicola had been praying to the wrong person. The bones are said to belong to another local priest and not one of the famous saints.

Wednesday, October 4, 2017

Essays on Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell

 
book
Were it not for the 1917 Russian Revolution, George Orwell wouldn’t have written The Animal Farm. Shooting an Elephant became available to the public in 1936 and it is an honest reflection of this famed author’s views towards the British colonial empire. Both fans and critics acknowledge George Orwell for expressing his personal and society’s hidden views using clever imagery.
Shooting an Elephant is a favorite assignment topic in virtually all university English Literature courses worldwide. What’s interesting is that students keep on discovering new angles hidden within the intriguing essay.

Here are some of the themes present in Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell.

1.The blessing and curse of being a police officer 

The Burmese people dread interacting with the British police officers due to one reason. Police brutality. In the essay, George Orwell takes the readers through incidents that portray Her Majesty’s law enforcement agents as cold-hearted monsters.

On the other hand, the colonial officers wield almost absolute powers that make them immune to Burmese ideologies. George Orwell takes readers through the minds of a ruthless police officer and a hapless Burmese colonial subject.

2.Disruption caused by civilization 

The British Empire champions itself as the forerunners of civilization. Their presence in Burma is synonymous with the destruction of the local cultural and environmental settings. In the story, George Orwell emphasizes on nature's serenity by creating a vivid scene of the conspicuous elephant grazing in a paddy field. As the story proceeds, the colonial empire develops an insatiable greed for Burma's natural resources.

3.Intimidation as a tool for retaining colonial power 

It’s common for the colonial officers to apply unnecessary force even when dealing with slight issues. This enables them to maintain a firm grip on Burmese subjects who are hopelessly obligated to serving Her Majesty’s economic interests. In addition, the subjects lack the freedom of expression, which George Orwell finds quite contrary to what civilization actually represents. Despite the benefits gained through intimidation, the narrator feels tired of maintaining a stern act. However, letting his guard down could stir up a rebellion.

4.Strained relationships 

George Orwell is appalled when the Burmese monks display their disrespect towards him and his fellow colonial police officers. As he moves from one point to the other, both young and old mock him in various ways. This is contrary to how the British royalty presents itself as an amiable and popular colonial regime.

5.The colonial regime’s insecurity 

Despite the elephant calming down after a dramatic episode, the narrator is still determined to shoot it down. However, this decision defies the officer’s logic because the giant mammal poses no real danger to himself or the community. Scholars believe that the elephant represents the large but peaceful nations that suffered horribly under British colonialism.

Summing it up 

You can create a list of awesome ideas related to essays on Shooting An Elephant by George Orwell by discussing your interpretation of the story with fellow classmates. This book contains rich themes for argumentative essay topics.

Are there other themes on Shooting an Elephant by George Orwell you’d like us to explain? Feel free to post your suggestion in the Comments box

Saturday, September 16, 2017

The Great Amherst Mystery

Amherst Mystery

Esther’s Haunting Mystery

Towards the concluding half of the 19th century, in a small town known as Amherst in Nova Scotia, Esther Cox had been affected by what she claimed as poltergeists. Esther is said to be residing with her married sister, Olive Teed her husband Daniel together with their two young children.

A brother and sister of Ester and Olive also seemed to live with them along with the brother of Daniel, John Teed. After Ester was almost killed by one of her male friend and had been a victim of psychotic break, due to the poltergeists and her house began to get haunted. Due to ill-health she spent some time at another sister’s house in a nearby region and thereafter returned to Amherst and the hauntings started once again.

After the poltergeists had threatened to burn the house, Esther had moved in with another family where the house became haunted also. Walter Hubbell, a part-time actor and also an occasional paranormal investigator had moved in with Esther. He examined the house for several weeks and finally wrote a popular book based on his experiences, wherein he claimed to have perceived floating objects together with assaults on Esther by invisible forces.
 

Traumatized by Assault

 
As per Hubbell, the incident took place towards the end of August 1878 after Esther aged 18 had been subjected to an attempted sexual assault by a male friend Bob McNeal with a gun.

He had been an acquaintance of the family and she had developed a liking for him, in spite of the fact that he was of a poor character. Esther had been traumatized by the assault and her behaviour underwent a change and seemed depressed. She had undergone immense distress and shortly thereafter the physical occurrences had started.

There had been knockings, rustlings and banging in the night and she began suffering from seizures whereby her body seemed to swell and she began having fever and chills in turns. The objects in the house also seemed to be moving.

 Though the frightened family did not want to draw attention to themselves for fear of mockery these incidents of the poltergeists, which took place led them to consult a doctor and seek his help. Dr. Carritte had been astonished by these events that took place. He witnessed the writing on the wall and the loud claps.
 

Witnessed Several Astonishing Incidents

 
According to Dr. Carritte it was as if someone had been banging on the roof with a sledge hammer and witnessed bedclothes move, heard scratching noises, and the words `Esther Cox, you are mine to kill’ written on the wall towards the head of her bed.

The following day the doctor administered sedatives to Esther in order to calm her and put her to sleep as a result more noises and flying objects exhibited themselves. Life seemed to be very intolerable for her family and with the frightful occurrences and fires which had been set in the house made Esther leave her home. However she was taken in by a kind family which permitted her to work in their dining saloon. But here also the poltergeists tormented her.

The locals witnessed several astonishing incidents in the saloon. They saw a knife which had flown mysteriously through the air and stab Esther and when someone had pulled it out of her, it seemed to fly back again in the same wound. Clergymen, scientist, together with other doctors had explored the hauntings.
 

The Haunted House – A True Ghost Story

 
A popular reverend had visited and witnessed a bucket of cold water appeared to be boiling on the kitchen table. Dr Edwin Clay, a Baptist clergyman had defended Esther on investigating and drawing the conclusion that she was not causing the displays herself.

 He spoke regarding the reality of the case of poltergeists, at several lectures where he had a great audience to listen. The local would gather at Esther’s cottage all over with the intention of catching glimpses of the objects flying through the air or to hear the noises or communicate with the poltergeists through questions and rapping. It is said that Esther also went to Saint John, New Brunswick where she had been examined by a team of scientists who supposedly connected with the poltergeists and assumed that it could be various entities who could be haunting her.

However no explanation has been provided regarding the poltergeists till date though some who did investigate the stories and were of the belief that it was a hoax by Esther. Walter Hubbell had spent six weeks in the home of Esther Cox to document the Amherst haunting and claimed to have been the victim of his own paranormal events which had taken place at her home where he had witnessed several violent incidents with Esther. In 1879, he had published his report known as `The Haunted House:

A True Ghost Story. He had also published a book – The Great Amherst Mystery. He had involved an affidavit of thirteen witnesses who swore that they had experienced the supernatural events first-hand.

Saturday, September 2, 2017

The Minaret of Jam

The Minaret of Jam

Minaret of Jam – Splendour & Multifaceted Design


The Minaret of Jam located in Afghanistan is known for its splendour and multifaceted design and the 64-meter tower is a graceful, soaring structure which is said to be in good condition till date in spite of it being constructed by baked bricks in the 12th or 13th century.

It is covered with intricate brickwork with a blue tile inscription towards the top and is remarkable for the excellence of its architecture as well as adornment, representing the finale of an architectural and artistic tradition of that region.

The Minaret of Jam is located on an octagonal base comprising of four cylindrical shafts resting one above the other and becoming progressively smaller as they tend to go higher. It is made of fired brick and lime mortar having two wooden balconies together with a lantern towards the top.

 Its external is decorated in superb detail covered with brick, stucco and glazed tiles contain sophisticated inscriptions of alternating band of Kufic and naskhi calligraphy, geometric patterns together with verses from the Quran.

The complex decorations together with the inscriptions seem to be clearly visible presently which has led it to be declared as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The tower had been constructed by Ghorid Dynasty at the height of its glory when it reigned over areas of modern Iran, Pakistan, Afghanistan and India.
Minaret of Jam


Turquoise Mountain – Legendary Lost Afghan Capital


It is presumed that the Minaret of Jamhad one been linked to a mosque which had been washed away in a flood earlier to the Mongol sieges.

Archaeologists had located physical evidence of a large courtyard building that had once existed besides the minaret. In Central Asia, it was common to build single huge towers as a means of political power. The Minaret of Jam is said to be both amazingly large and visible owing to its size though hidden from the world because of its location within the valley. The most fascinating concept of the Minaret of Jam is that it could have belonged to the lost city of Firozkoh which is also known as the Turquoise Mountain.

This city had been the capital of Ghorid Dynasty as well as one of the greatest cities in the world and the capital had been totally ruined in the early 1220s by Ogedei Khan the son of Genghis wherein its location had been lost forever to history.

The Turquoise Mountain – Firozkoh is said to be the legendary lost Afghan capital of the Middle Ages and was apparently a prospering multicultural centre. It was believed that the ancient city had been the home of a Jewish trading community, documented by inscription on tombstones that had been discovered in the 1950s.
Minaret of Jam 1


Lasting Legacy – Christians/Jews/Muslims



The minaret seems to be very apparent from the religious point of view. One of the visitors had commented that `this chapter, called Maryam tells of the Virgin Mary and Jesus, both venerated in Islam and of prophets such as Abraham and Isaac.

 It’s a text that emphasises what Judaism, Christianity and Islam have in common instead of their differences. It appears the Ghorids positioned the text here to appeal for harmony and tolerance in the land, a message that is more relevant now than ever’.


It remains as a lasting legacy belonging to a period wherein Christians, Jews and Muslims are said to live side-by-side in harmony and united by their commonalities instead of being divided by their differences.

The effect of the Minaret of Jam is amplified by its histrionic setting with a deep river valley between gigantic mountains in the core of the Ghur province. It is one of the well preserved monuments that tend to represent the extraordinary artistic creativity and the mastery of structural engineering of that time.

 Its architecture and adornment seems to be outstanding with regards to art history, blending together foundations from the earlier developments in the region, in an incomparable manner as well as employing a great influence on later architecture in that region.

Outstanding Universal Value



Its graceful soaring structure is a remarkable model of the architecture and adornment of the Islamic period in Central Asia. It tends to play an important role in their future diffusion with regards to India as demonstrated by the Qutb Minar, in Delhi that begun in 1202 and was completed in the early 14th century.

Ever since the building of the Minaret of Jam which was around eight hundred years back, there were no reconstruction or extensive restoration work carried out in the area. In 1957, the archaeological remnants had been surveyed and recorded when the ruins had been first located by archaeologist. Ensuing surveys and researches have led to simple safety maintenance measures to the base of the Minaret.

Thus the characteristics which express the Outstanding Universal Value of the site, not least the Minaret but the other architectural forms together with their settings in the landscape is said to be unharmed within the limitations of the property and beyond.

The Minaret of Jam had been truly forgotten for several centuries and had only been rediscovered in 1886 by Sir Thomas Holdich, then forgotten again and once again rediscovered in 1957.

Threatened by Seepage/Erosion/Vibration – Road Construction



Presently it is threatened by seepage from the waters of the rivers where it tends to stand, together with erosion, vibrations from the road-construction in the surrounding areas which are threats of intentional destructions together with the continuation of illegal archaeological digs.

Visitors to the Minaret of Jam can climb to the top by a set of stairs that have been shaped like a double helix. The steps first end in an open chamber where the visitors can view out over the rivers and the scenery in the vicinity.

A second set of stairs can be taken to see the lantern gallery. But few visitors tend to make it to the minaret since it is a long and complex climb filled with several dangers and threats, inclusive of local bandits, abduction or execution by rebels.

The Minaret of Jam in Afghanistan is undoubtedly located in the midst of very unsafe area of the present world. With no extensive restoration coming up since the minaret had been constructed, together with little funding in conducting any repairs, it is doubtful if the minaret would be preserved or will be left to crumble into ruins.