Adventures at Matheran Hill Station
March 13, 2013 – 12:05 am | No Comment
Matheran is a Hill Station located near Mumbai, Karjat.   It is located 800 meters above sea level in the Jambol Forest of Maharashtra.  It was found by Hugh Poynts Malet in May 1850.  It spreads over an area of 8 square kilometers in Sahyadri Mountains.  It is one of the best places to spend a two-day holiday if you are in Mumbai or in the vicinity of Mumbai or its suburbs.  To reach Matheran,  [...]

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Tower of London: Royal, dark, and wicked

Posted on November 10, 2010 | Travel DestinationsNo Comment

Your London travel is not complete if you do not take a tour of the London Tower. Rising bluntly in the London Borough of Tower Hamlets and adorning the river Thames’ north bank, the Tower of London is a notable complex of several edifices flanked by the defending walls as well as moats. Regarded as one of the top attractions in London, it is the most ancient building that has been used by the British Government for many purposes – a royal palace, a fortress, and a prison for royal offenders. Further, the Tower of London was also utilized for armory, treasury, execution, torture, zoo, observatory, Royal Mint, and to house the glittering Crown Jewels of the state. This is the reason why I have said this London Tower as royal but wicked. Her Majesty’s Royal Palace is much more known for its landmark called the White Tower that is a bleak square citadel.

My London Travel plan included the first visit to this Tower of London. Upon the entrance, I first explored the famous Norman White Tower that is nestled in the middle of the complex. Erected by William the Conqueror in the 11th century for safeguarding the Normans from the locals, this tower is known due to a famous legend according to which the utilized mortar was raged by the blood of beasts. Check out for the four turrets just over the ramparts of which one is spherical and others are in square. The former one had once played a role of an observatory. There is a bailey to the tower’s south.

On the first level towards the east, the St John’s Chapel stands that exhibits the early Anglo-Norman religious structural design. In this chapel, the two aisles flank the nave that is divided by columns creating an arcade as well as an ambulatory. Do note the design of the column capitals as they differ – some have volutes, while a few are block-shaped. Just atop the roof, a gallery arcade illuminates the complete area.

Then, the Inmost Ward of the White Tower is worth a look, which was a royal residence with lavish edifices in the south. In the olden days, the entrance was via the now ruined Coldharbour Gate. This was where the Wakefield Tower was present in which King Henry VI while praying on the bent knees was murdered. Other highlights are the Lanthorn Tower as well as the Wardrobe Tower in the northeast.

Both the White Tower as well as the above ward resides in the Inner Ward that is flanked by a defending big curtain wall erected by Henry III. This protective structure (wall) was once surrounded by some 13 towers including the three mentioned previously, Flint Tower, Bloody tower where the princes were murdered, Brick Tower, and the famous Bell Tower whose bell never fails to strike since 500 years.

Now, it was the turn of the Outer Ward in the London Tower. This is the space between the inner wall and outer curtain wall forming a double defense. Around the new outer wall, you can spot a defensive moat too. Here, you will come across five towers looking towards Thames: Cradle tower, Byward tower, Well Tower, St Thomas’s Tower, and Develin Tower. Look for the three domed bastions on the outer wall, North Bastion, Brass Mount, and Legge’s Mount.

Forming the entrance to the tower, the water gate also known as the popular Traitor’s Gate is seen. It is named so because of the offenders accused for treachery have passed this gate including Queen Anne Boleyn. It is this gate that splits the Thomas’s Tower. There is one more entrance from the west side where a dry moat once intersected a stone bridge flanking the whole area. From here, you can be at the Byward Tower via the Middle Tower – once a gateway with the Lion Tower. This is where you can spot the British Crown Jewels, remains of the Roman citadel wall, and an armor collection. This zone is crowded by the Yeomen Warders also known as the Beefeaters – tourist guides and building guards. In the evening, they participate in the Ceremony of the Keys for protecting the buildings after dusk.

One more legendary sight is of the ravens in the Tower of London. At any point of time, at least six Ravens are always present here to justify the belief that the kingdom will start to decline in their absence. Genuinely speaking 10 ravens stay here of which 6 are on duty and 4 are standbys all belonging to the crow family, Corvus and consuming carrion as well as dead flesh. A Beefeater is a Raven master here who takes care of these ravens with the finance from the government. The house of the ravens is close to the Wakefield Tower.

So, get ready for a historic and dark London travel this time!

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