Golden Temple in India

on Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Golden Temple
The Golden Temple in India, which is often called the “Darbar Sahib or Harmandar Sahib” by the Indians, is one of the oldest places of worship for the ‘Sikhs’ and is located in Amritsar, Punjab. It is considered one of the holiest, blessed and sacrosanct places in India. It is a symbol of both beauty and peace. The temple is surrounded by a small man-made lake which has tons and tones of fishes in it. This lake is supposed to have holy water. The temple can be entered from four different sides and thus symbolizes openness, acceptance. This concept is based on the old tents which were open from all four sides, welcoming travelers from all directions. The Golden Temple has three holy trees. There is also a small Sikh Museum near the Ghanta Ghar in Amritsar which is very rich in information, especially for the first time visitors. The entire top of the temple is made of pure gold and thus adds a lot of pride and beauty to the entire temple. During the earlier days, this place was a huge lake surrounded by a thin line of forests. It is also said that Buddha journeyed to find out the real meaning of life spent some considerable time in this place. The first guru of the Sikh community called the Guru Nank also used to meditate in this peaceful place and years after he passed away, many of his disciples kept coming back to the site and then it finally became a sacred place. It was during the Fifth Guru, Arjana when the Temple was finally built 1604. It was Guru Arjan who installed the “Guru Granth Sahib” in the temple and appointed the first reader in August 1604. The temples architecture is that of both Hindu and Muslims. On many occasions, it was destroyed by a certain set of community and rebuilt by the Sikhs.
Golden Temple

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

Golden Temple

Golden Temple Video

World Tallest Tower Burj Khalifa

on Tuesday, January 11, 2011

 Dubai’s look is grand-scale. So is its debt. Its ambitions were colossal. It wanted to own the ‘largest hotel, largest airport, largest fake island and largest theme park in the world.’ The world’s tallest man-made structure ever built, fittingly renamed from Burj Dubai to Burj Khalifa after the leader of neighboring Abu Dhabi who just bailed Dubai out f a $10bn colossal debt, recently opened for business.

Such is the story of magnificent Dubai. Grandiose look built on grandiose debt in the vicinity of $80 billion, largely incurred by Dubai World at 75 percent of total debt at the very least. Dubai World, the ‘enormous government-run investment company, which sports the slogan “The Sun Never Sets on Dubai World”’ fueled the country’s material ambitions. The government of Dubai was not able to bail out its own investment arm, and this sent shockwaves to global investors.

John Feffer in Foreign Policy in Focus excellently describes the collapse of Dubai World, and the dubious reputation Dubai itself has now earned: “A casino is an apt metaphor for the conglomerate’s operation. Dubai World was gambling with easy credit. It was dazzled by high-rolling investors. And it woke up the next morning with a hangover and empty pockets, hoping that its friends would help it out.”

Dubai has been largely living off the generous strength of others, and enjoying the ride all the way. Feffer adds that Dubai’s grand projects were “all built by migrant workers who were paid poorly, treated terribly and forbidden to strike.” The Burj Khalifa is a grand example of this. The tallest building in the world was built primarily by workers from South Asia. By June of 2008, there were 7,500 skilled workers constructing the Burj Khalifa.
Skilled carpenters earned a measly UK£4.34 a day, and laborers earned UK£2.84 at the site in 2006. According to a report by Human Rights Watch, ‘the workers were housed in abysmal conditions, their pay was often withheld, their passports were confiscated by their employers, and they were working in hazardous conditions that resulted in a high number of deaths and injuries on site.’ Also, “those workers toiled 12 hours a day, 6 days a week for pay as little as $4 per day.

View From The Top Of Burj Khalifa

Burj Khalifa (Arabic: برج خليفة‎ "Khalifa Tower"), known as Burj Dubai prior to its inauguration, is a skyscraper in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, and is currently the tallest man-made structure ever built, at 828 m (2,717 ft). Construction began on 21 September 2004, with the exterior of the structure completed on 1 October 2009. The building officially opened on 4 January 2010, and is part of the new 2 km2 (490-acre) flagship development called Downtown Dubai at the 'First Interchange' along Sheikh Zayed Road, near Dubai's main business district.

The tower's architecture and engineering were performed by Skidmore, Owings and Merrill of Chicago, with Adrian Smith (now at his own firm) as chief architect, and Bill Baker as chief structural engineer. The primary contractor was Samsung C&T of South Korea.

The total cost for the project was about US $1.5 billion; and for the entire "Downtown Dubai" development, US $20 billion.[13] In March 2009, Mohamed Ali Alabbar, chairman of the project's developer, Emaar Properties, said office space pricing at Burj Khalifa reached US $4,000 per sq ft (over US $43,000 per m²) and the Armani Residences, also in Burj Khalifa, sold for US $3,500 per sq ft (over US $37,500 per m²).

The project's completion coincided with the global financial crisis of 2007–10, and with vast overbuilding in the country, led to high vacancies and foreclosures.[15] With Dubai mired in debt from its huge ambitions, the government was forced to seek multibillion dollar bailouts from its oil rich neighbor Abu Dhabi. Subsequently, in a surprise move at its opening ceremony, the tower was renamed Burj Khalifa, said to honour the UAE President Khalifa bin Zayed Al Nahyan for his crucial support.

Due to the slumping demand in Dubai's property market, the rents in the Burj Khalifa plummeted 40% some ten months after its opening. Out of 900 apartments in the tower around 825 were still empty at that time.
The tallness of Burj Khalifa
The Magnificent sight of Burj Khalifa

So what if you can’t beat the feat, just plan a look-a-like of the world’s tallest building. A few days after its first anniversary, the Burj Khalifa, is inspiring a similar structure in China.

The People’s Daily, in a report on Thursday, said the proposed $1.3 billion tower (the Burj cost an estimated $1.5 billion to build) would come up in Mentougou district of the capital and would house a seven-star hotel.

While not naming the developer, it said the project would be jointly developed with Saudi Arabia. The report quoted Wang Hongzhong, a senior official of the Mentougou district, as saying the design and planning of the seven-star hotel was ready. “It has been designed as a stream-lined building like the Khalifa Tower in Dubai,’’ the report quoted him as saying. The official did not mention the completion date of the venture, but said the hotel would be world-class and would bear the hallmark of luxury.

According to the report, the hotel would be located at the end of Chang An avenue, a road near Tiananmen Square.

China has been on a skyscraper construction spree as other countries put such plans in the cooler during the downturn.

The 600-metre Canton Tower, which was completed in late September, ahead of the Asian Games, has been the latest to join the race for the heights.

Shanghai also plans to complete a 121-floor tall building by 2014, which is set to overtake the Canton Tower .

But, for the moment, the Burj Khalifa towers over the wannabes and the rest at over 828 metres (2,716.5 feet) with more than 160 storeys. It sure looks good to stay that way for a long time.

Hagia Sophia Istanbul, Turkey

on Thursday, January 6, 2011

Hagia Sophia Istanbul The Hagia Sophia has a classical basilica plan. The main ground plan of the building is a rectangle, 230 feet (70 m) in width and 246 feet (75 m) in length. The area is covered by a central dome (see outside and inside) with a diameter of 102 feet (31 m), which is just slightly smaller than that of the Pantheon in Rome.

The main dome is carried on pendentives: four concave triangular sections of masonry which solve the problem of setting the circular base of a dome on a rectangular base. Each pendentive is decorated with a seraphim. The weight of the dome passes through the pendentives to four massive piers at the corners, and between them the dome seems to float upon four great arches.

At the western and eastern ends, the arched openings are extended by semi-domes. The flat wall on each side of the interior (north and south) is called a tympanum, and each one has 12 large windows in two rows, seven in the lower and five in the upper.

Just outside the entrance, stone cannonballs line the gravel path of the outer courtyard. These are the actual cannonballs used by Mehmet the Conqueror in his victorious 1453 battle for the city.

All interior surfaces are sheathed with polychrome marble, green and white with purple porphyry, and gold mosaics. On the exterior, simple stuccoed walls reveal the clarity of massed vaults and domes.

The Islamic calligraphic roundels suspended from the main dome since the 19th century remain in place and make for a fascinating religious contrast with the uncovered Christian mosaics. The names painted on the eight wooden medallions are: Allah and Muhammad (flanking the apse); the first four Caliphs Abu Bakr, Umar, Uthman and Ali (at the four corners of the dome); and the two grandsons of Mohammed, Hasan and Husayn (in the nave).

Hagia Sophia Istanbul
The Byzantine mosaics are being gradually uncovered, but only those on the higher gallery levels, which can be accessed by stairways on the payment of a fee. This means that Muslims do not have to confront much Christian imagery in the main chamber of the building, which was a mosque for nearly 500 years and retains all the equipment of a mosque.

When the Hagia Sophia was used as a place of worship, both for Christians and then for Muslims, the focus of the building was the east end, directly across from the entrance. This is because Christian churches are traditionally oriented towards the east, and Muslims always pray facing Mecca, which is southeast of Istanbul (the "east" end of the Hagia Sophia actually faces southeast). Thus the bulk of interesting sights are clustered in this area of the Hagia Sophia's huge interior.

At ground level, most of the sights date from the Islamic period. A beautiful marble structure in the apse is the mihrab, a niche found in all mosques that indicates the direction of Mecca. The large freestanding stairway to the right of the mihrab is the minbar, or pulpit from which sermons were given. To the left of the mihrab is the grand sultan's loge, built by the Fossati brothers who restored the Hagia Sophia in the 1800s.
Hagia Sophia Istanbul

Looking up from this area, one sees a splendid apse mosaic depicting the Virgin and Child. On the right is a partly damaged Archangel Gabriel mosaic. Gabriel used to face an Archangel Michael mosaic on the other side of the apse, but this is now almost entirely gone.

The most famous of the Hagia Sophia's mosaics are on the upper floor, in the galleries. The South Gallery, where the great mosaics are, was used for church councils. When the Hagia Sophia was a mosque, the galleries were the place where women sat during worship services. Today, the galleries provide visitors with a commanding view of the nave from all sides and a closeup view of some of the best Byzantine mosaics to be seen anywhere.

The best-known mosaic is called the Deësis Mosaic, and it is the first you come to as you enter the South Gallery through the Marble Door. It depicts a triumphant and kingly Christ (known as "Christ Pantrocrator"), flanked by the Virgin Mary and John the Baptist.

Hagia Sophia Istanbul
At the end of the South Gallery are two golden Byzantine mosaics. On the left is Christ with Emperor Constantine IX Monomachus and Empress Zoe; on the right is the Virgin and Child with Emperor John II Comnenus and Empress Irene.

The modern exit from the Hagia Sophia is through the Vestibule of the Warriors, so called because it is where the emperor's bodyguards waited while he worshipped. Up high and behind you as you walk out is a splendid mosaic of the Virgin with Constantine and Justinian: Constantine the Great presents to the Virgin a model of the city of Constantinople (Istanbul), which he founded, and Emperor Justinian presents the church of the Hagia Sophia, which he rebuilt. This mosaic dates probably from the 10th century.
Hagia Sophia Istanbul

There are several interesting things to see outside Hagia Sophia, including three mausoleums of sultans, the church's baptistery, and the excavated remains of Theodosius' Hagia Sophia.

Golden Gate Bridge Review

on Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Golden Gate BridgePossibly the most famous bridge in the world, here is the history and building of the Golden Gate Bridge, as well as the planning concept behind the architectural wonder.

The Golden Gate Bridge links San Francisco with Marin County in complete splendor. The bridge is one of the architectural marvels of the Twentieth Century and a evidence to human trouble, as it was constructed during the years of the Great Depression. For years, the Golden Gate Bridge held the title as the longest postponement bridge in the world.

Before its conclusion in 1937, the bridge was considered impossible to build, due to persistently foggy weather, 60-mile-per-hour winds, and strong ocean currents, which whipped through a deep canyon below. In fact, the bridge is usually known as the "Bridge that couldn't be built." even though these unforgiving natural elements; the bridge was constructed in a little more than four years. The total outlay was $35 million. The total length of the bridge spans 1.2 miles. Eleven men lost their lives during the structure of the bridge.
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge
Golden Gate Bridge