Category Archives: Tales Across the World

When in Rome…

Off late, I’ve been travelling a lot in South India, I’ve been fascinated by some of the really amazing things I’ve come up on my trips. Especially to do with Ancient technology of the humans. Soon, I’ll be speaking at the BarCampMumbai on ‘Ancient Indian Technology’ and that’s when I found some fascinating facts about India that connected Indians to the Romans. While I’m going to solely focus on Ancient Indian technology there, Rome is something that has also fascinated me in terms of Ancient Technology.

Dig this:

1.  Roman trade with India through the overland caravan routes via Anatolia and Persia, though at a relative trickle compared to later times, antedated the southern trade route via the Red Sea and monsoons which started around the beginning of the Common Era (CE) following the reign of Augustus and his conquest of Egypt in 30 BCE.

2. Roman trade diaspora frequented the ancient Tamil country (present day Southern India) and Sri Lanka, securing trade with the seafaring Tamil states of the Chola, Pandyan and Chera dynasties and establishing trading settlements which remained long after the fall of the Western Roman Empire.

3. Prior to Roman expansion, India had established strong maritime trade with other countries. The dramatic increase in Indian ports, however, did not occur until the opening of the Red Sea by the Romans and the attainment of geographical knowledge concerning India’s seasonal monsoons.

4. The Romans learnt the number 0 from Ancient India, through Aryabhatta, however detested it, only to accept it later and of course the entire world did.

So, I haven’t traveled abroad as much… and which is when I thought, one of the first places to  get out of this country, As fascinating as it is, the beauty and the ancient culture of Rome would be certainly amazing for me to study and understand. Coming to think of it, what are the top places I’d like to visit in Rome

So here’s what my Bucket List looks like. And without a doubt, it has to do with Ancient Roman Technology, just as fascinating as Ancient Indian Technology.

1. Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius

Statua Marco Aurelio Musei Capitolini Fronte

Statua Marco Aurelio Musei Capitolini Fronte

The Equestrian Statue of Marcus Aurelius is an ancient Roman statue in the Campidoglio, Rome, Italy. It is made of bronze and stands 3.5 m tall. Although the emperor is mounted, it exhibits many similarities to standing statues of Augustus. The original is on display in the Palazzo Nuovo, with the one now standing in the open air of the Piazza del Campidoglio being a replica made in 1981 when the original was taken down for restoration in the Palazzo.

Although there were many equestrian imperial statues, they rarely survived because it was practice to melt down bronze statues for reuse as coin or new sculptures in the late empire. Statues were also destroyed because medieval Christians thought that they were pagan idols. The statue of Marcus Aurelius was not melted down because in the Middle Ages it was incorrectly thought to portray the first Christian Emperor Constantine. Indeed, it is the only fully surviving bronze statue of a pre-Christian Roman emperor.

2. The Colosseum

Colosseum in Rome Italy

Colosseum in Rome Italy

 

The Colosseum, or the Coliseum, originally the Flavian Amphitheatre (Latin: Amphitheatrum Flavium, Italian Anfiteatro Flavio or Colosseo), is an elliptical amphitheatre in the centre of the city of Rome, Italy, the largest ever built in the Roman Empire. It is considered one of the greatest works of Roman architecture and Roman engineering. Occupying a site just east of the Roman Forum, its construction started in 72 AD under the emperor Vespasian and was completed in 80 AD under Titus,with further modifications being made during Domitian’s reign (81–96). The name “Amphitheatrum Flavium” derives from both Vespasian’s and Titus’s family name.

3. The Tempietto

The Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio)

The Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio)

The Tempietto (San Pietro in Montorio), which is an excellent example of Italian Renaissance architecture.  The church is decorated with artworks by prominent 16th- and 17th-century masters. The first chapel on the right contains Sebastiano del Piombo’s Flagellation and Transfiguration (1516–1524). Michelangelo, who had befriended Sebastiano in Rome, supplied figure drawings that were incorporated into the Flagellation. The second chapel has a fresco by Niccolò Circignani (1654), some Renaissance frescoes from the school of Pinturicchio, and an allegorical sibyl and virtue attributed to Baldassarre Peruzzi.

4. Piazza del Campidoglio

Piazza del Campidoglio

Piazza del Campidoglio

Elliptical courtyard with central figure sculpture. At the top of the “Cordonata” steps, also by Michelangelo. A short walk to the south (starting out south-west) from the Piazza Venezia. The bird’s-eye view of the engraving by Étienne Dupérac shows Michelangelo’s solution to the problems of the space in the Piazza del Campidoglio. Even with their new facades centering them on the new palazzo at the rear, the space was a trapezoid, and the facades did not face each other squarely. Worse still, the whole site sloped (to the left in the engraving). Michelangelo’s solution was radical. The three remodelled palazzi enclose a harmonious trapezoidal space, approached by the ramped staircase called the “Cordonata”. Since no “perfect” forms would work, his apparent oval in the paving is actually egg-shaped, narrower at one end than at the other. The travertine design set into the paving is perfectly level: Around its perimeter, low steps arise and die away into the paving as the slope requires.

Well, these are some of the most interesting and fascinating things that I would be interested to visit in Rome.

Skiing Galore – My fav picks…

A few months back I happened to go to a really amazing destination in North India, Uttarakhand. It was called Auli. Yes, this was during my visit to the Valley of Flowers. While I did write my experience about the place  I also learned that this is a perfect Skiing destination in India. Since that day, Skiing is something on my mind and I’m pretty sure I’d really enjoy it if I get to do it at least once in my life. So, Auli is certainly a place that I’d love to go to Ski in India.  At an altitude of 2915 mts-3049 mts, this is real joy for those interested in Skiing.

Auli Ropeway

Auli Ropeway

Many of you might not know, but is an important ski destination in the Himalayas of Uttarakhand. Auli is known as ‘Bugyal’ in the regional language which means meadow. In fact some French and Australian experts consider Auli to be one of the best ski resorts in the world. Auli although is a lesser known ski destination than Shimla, Gulmarg or Manali, but from what I heard about the place, I’ve decided, next winters, I’m certainly go skiing here.

Having said that I also decided to look for some more destinations across the world to kind of make my list of favorite destinations to go to for, if I were to take a Skiing Holiday.

Here’s what I found:

1Skiing at Alpe d’Huez (France) 

Alpe d'Huez - France, Skiing

Alpe d'Huez - France

Now this is one of the top destinations, one would want to go to in France if you’d want to Ski. Alpe d’Huez is Europe’s top skiing venues. The resort gained popularity when it hosted the bobsleigh events of the 1968 Winter Olympics. With 249 km of piste and 84 ski lifts, the resort is now one of the world’s largest. Extensive snowmaking facilities help fighting the ski area’s largely south-facing orientation and helped Alpe d’Huez appeal to beginner skiers, with easy slopes.

Ski holidays  in Alpe d’Huez has excellent snow records due to the high altitude, the Sarenne Glacier and over 800 snow cannons. The Pique Blanc summit at 3300m affords breathtaking views across the whole of the Southern Alps and provides a wonderful starting point for the Sarenne descent – one of the longest black runs in the world at fully 16km from top to bottom!

2Skiing at Avoriaz (France) 
Avoriaz - France

Avoriaz - France

Avoriaz is a French mountain resort in the heart of the Portes du Soleil. It is located in the territory of the commune of Morzine. It is easily accessible from either Thonon at Lake Geneva or Cluses junction on the A40 motorway between Geneva and Chamonix. Avoriaz is built on a shelf high above the town of Morzine, which is among the pioneering towns of skiing with its first lifts dating back to the early 1930s. Today Avoriaz is one of the major french skidestinations catering for all standards of living, skiing and ranks among the top snowboarding destinations of the world.

Skiing in Avoriaz offer a purpose built, very snow sure resort, the highest in the huge Portes du Soleil – the world’s largest internationally-linked ski area – appealing to skiers and boarders of all abilities. Being traffic free, Avoriaz also appeals to families. The whole resort is easily accessible whether on skis or on foot, and there is a wide choice of shops, restaurants and bars with a varied selection of nightlife.

3Skiing at Davos (Switzerland) 

Switzerland, Davos

Davos

Skiing in Davos give you access to six fantastic ski areas. The skiing in Davos is superb, giving skiers of all levels a vast area of 320kms of world class skiing to play in. Exhilarating stuff! The first “decelerated” skiing area arises here. Relax and enjoy nature at the sunny side of the ski resort of Davos. Gently sloping hills you reach from the center of Davos Platz with the renovated funicular in just four minutes.

4. Skiing in Alpbach (Austria)

Alpbach

Alpbach

Alpbach is a village in Western Austria in the state of Tyrol. There are more than 30 miles of pistes, including a few black runs, but the skiing is generally pleasurable rather than exciting, while the nightlife is cosy and jolly rather than wild. This is a place for families with pre-teens, for couples who want to keep some reserves of energy for the evening, and for beginners. As well as downhill runs, the resort offers snowboarding and cross-country skiing.

These were some of the destinations that I think I’d want to strike off on my bucket list if I were to go skiing worldwide… Wondering why I left it at an odd number of 4, instead of, maybe 5?? Well, you tell me what’s your favorite pick? Maybe that’d be my 5th and final skiing holiday destination 🙂 What say??