Tag Archives: world heritage site

Things to See in France: Mont Saint-Michel Travel Attractions 27 JUL 2017

One of the earliest recognised UNESCO World Heritage Sites, France’s famed Mont Saint-Michel island commune in Normandy stands as one of France’s most recognizable landmarks, not to mention one of its most popular tourist destinations.

Situated about 1 km off the country’s northwestern coast, the tidal island crowned by its great Romanesque abbey supports a small population of around 50 permanent residents, all living within the boundaries of this medieval walled city.

Inaccessible during high tide, this fortified position has been held since Roman times, and in addition to its position as a place of worship since the 11th century,  The Mont as a strategic stronghold stands legendary as having been unconquered during the Hundred Years’ War, not to mention its successful 1433 defense against a full scale English assault.

Of course the reverse of this unconquerable nature wasn’t entirely missed either, with the tidal island also spending a fair bit of its history as prison stronghold for some of the Kings of France.

A team over at Great Big Story put together this great little primer on the fabulous Mont Saint-Michel:

No wonder it is one of France’s most visited tourist attractions.

Related Link: Wikipedia | Forbes | About France | YouTube

Things to See in Sri Lanka: Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth) Travel Attractions 18 JUN 2015

Sri Dalada Maligawa (or the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic) is a Buddhist temple in the city of Kandy, Sri Lanka. It is located in the royal palace complex of the former Kingdom of Kandy, which houses the relic of the tooth of Buddha. Since ancient times, the relic has played an important role in local politics because it is believed that whoever holds the relic holds the governance of the country.

Kandy was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and is a UNESCO world heritage site mainly due to the temple.

sri lanka kandy buddha temple sri dalada maligawa temple of the tooth 1

Monks of the two chapters of Malwatte and Asgiriya conduct daily worship in the inner chamber of the temple. Rituals are performed three times daily: at dawn, at noon and in the evenings. On Wednesdays there is a symbolic bathing of the relic with an herbal preparation made from scented water and fragrant flowers, called Nanumura Mangallaya. This holy water is believed to contain healing powers and is distributed among those present.

sri lanka kandy buddha temple sri dalada maligawa temple of the tooth 2

The brick wall which runs along the moat and Bogambara lake is known as water waves wall. Holes in this wall are build to light coconut oil lamps. The main entrance gates which lies over the moat is called Mahawahalkada. At the foot of Mahawahalkada steps there is a Sandakada pahana (moonstone) which is carved in Kandyan architectural style. Mahawahalkada was totally destroyed in a 1998 bomb blast and rebuilt afterwards along with sandakada pahana other stone carvings. Elephants are depicted in stone on the either sides of the entrance. A Makara Torana and two guardian stones are placed on top of the staircase.

sri lanka kandy buddha temple sri dalada maligawa temple of the tooth 3

Hewisi drummers’ chamber is situated in front of the main shrine. The two storeys of main shrine are known as “Palle malaya” (lower floor) and “Udu malaya” (upper floor) or “Weda hitina maligawa”. The doors of the Weda Hitana Maligawa are carved in ivory. The actual chamber which the tooth relic is kept is known as the “Handun kunama”.

sri lanka kandy buddha temple sri dalada maligawa temple of the tooth 5

The golden canopy built in 1987 over the main shrine and the golden fence which encircles the main shrine are other notable features. The tooth relic is encased in seven golden caskets which engraved with precious gemstones. The caskets have a shape of a stupa. The Procession casket which is used during the Esala Perahera is also displayed in the same chamber.

sri lanka kandy buddha temple sri dalada maligawa temple of the tooth 6

sri lanka kandy buddha temple sri dalada maligawa temple of the tooth 4

sri lanka kandy buddha temple sri dalada maligawa temple of the tooth 7

sri lanka kandy buddha temple sri dalada maligawa temple of the tooth 8

Related Link: Sri Dalada Maligawa | Wikipedia

Things to See in New Zealand: Milford Sound Travel Attractions 15 JUN 2015

Milford Sound, one of New Zealand’s most famous tourist destinations, is a fiord in the south west of New Zealand’s South Island, within Fiordland National Park, Piopiotahi (Milford Sound) Marine Reserve, and the Te Wahipounamu World Heritage site.

new zealand south island fiordland national park milford sound fiord 1

Milford Sound runs 15 kilometres inland from the Tasman Sea at Dale Point (also named after a location close to Milford Haven in Wales) – the mouth of the fiord – and is surrounded by sheer rock faces that rise 1,200 metres or more on either side. Among the peaks are The Elephant at 1,517 metres, said to resemble an elephant’s head, and The Lion, 1,302 metres, in the shape of a crouching lion.

Of course, the looming presence of the South Islands most iconic mountain peak, Mitre Peak, shouldn’t be forgotten either!

new zealand south island fiordland national park milford sound fiord 2

Milford Sound sports two permanent waterfalls all year round, Lady Bowen Falls and Stirling Falls. After heavy rain however, many hundreds of temporary waterfalls can be seen running down the steep sided rock faces that line the fiord. They are fed by rain water drenched moss and will last a few days at most once the rain stops.

In rainy and stormy days tourists can admire the play of the wind with the numerous waterfalls in Milford Sound. When meeting the cliff face the powerful wind often goes upward and waterfalls with a vertical drop get caught by wind, causing the water to go upwards.

new zealand south island fiordland national park milford sound fiord 3

The beauty of this landscape draws thousands of visitors each day, with between 550,000 and 1 million visitors in total per year. This makes the sound one of New Zealand’s most-visited tourist spots, and also the most famous New Zealand tourist destination, even with its remote location and the long journey from the nearest population centres.

Almost all tourists going to the sound also take one of the boat tours which usually last one to two hours. They are offered by several companies, departing from the Milford Sound Visitors’ Centre. There is also the option of extended overnight cruises on Milford Sound.

new zealand south island fiordland national park milford sound fiord 4

Backpacking, canoeing, and some other water sports are possible. A small number of companies also provide overnight boat trips. There is otherwise only limited accommodation at the sound, and only a very small percentage of tourists stay more than the day. Many tourists visiting Milford Sound usually stay in Te Anau to the south or Queenstown to the east.

An underwater tourist observatory found in one of the bays of the sound provides viewing of black coral, usually only found in much deeper waters. A dark surface layer of fresh water, stained by tannins from the surrounding forest, allows the corals to grow close to the surface here.

new zealand south island fiordland national park milford sound fiord 5

Incidentally, Milford Sound is the only fiord in the area accessible by road – meaning that even if you’re not so keen on being out on the water, you don’t really have an excuse to miss out on this beauty!

new zealand south island fiordland national park milford sound fiord

new zealand south island fiordland national park milford sound fiord 7

Related Link: Fiordland | Wikipedia