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Posts Tagged ‘culture’

Matopos – the place of benevolent spirits

Posted by dan on January 25, 2011

 

Charles Dume Sana - meaning Praise the Lord - and his family

Charles Dume Sana - meaning Praise the Lord - and his family

It’s been called the place of benevolent spirits, and Cecil Rhodes, as he wished, was buried there at Malindidzimu hill. Today Zimbabwe is off the main tourist path, but even when it was on the main route few people visited the Matopos region – also known as Matobo Hills. Much of the area is a national park – the Matobo National Park -and it is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is close to the town of Bulawayo and shorter or longer safaris and treks can be organized locally. The local people belong to the Ndebele tribe, which is split into a southern and northern branch – first live in South Africa, the second in the southern part of Zimbabwe and parts of Botswana. The following images were made in 1996 in a small Ndebele settlement just outside the national park, where I’ve spent a week staying at Fortune’s family with two fellow travelers, Mark from Holland and Ian from Scotland. People are almost self-sufficient – if the season is good – and earn a little cash from making carvings or working in town – and would love to receive visitors in their homes. It is a magical and sacred landscape – as powerful as the Red Center in Australia, the Sinai mountains in Egypt or Hampi in India – and could develop into a trekking, cultural and retreat destination, if things were going better in the country. The locals would definitely deserve it – let’s hope things will get better one day.

More about the Ndebele:

Northern Ndebele people, located in Zimbabwe, and Botswana
South Ndebele people, located in the South Africa

More about the Matobos National Park:

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Matobo_National_Park
Matobos National Park official website: http://www.zimparks.org/?option=…

Useful link:

Matobo Conservation Society: http://www.matobo.org/

 

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Maha Kumbh Nagar – megapolis not marked on any map

Posted by dan on November 13, 2010

Naga Sadhu on horse back

Naga Sadhu on horse back

Happens only once every 144 years in India, the Maha Kumbh Mela is the biggest gathering of people anywhere in the world. In 2001 up to 100 million people flocked to the Hindu festival located between Varanasi and Ahmedabad where three holy rivers – the Yamuna, Ganges and the mythical Saraswati River – merge. On any given days there were at least 10 million people present, with around 20 million people on peak days. With its sprawling tent city (Maha Kumbh Nagar) and temporary citizens who live there for a month this makes it one of the biggest cities in the world – except that at any other time you wouldn’t find there anything.

“The normal Kumbh Mela is celebrated every 4 years, the Ardh (half) Kumbh Mella is celebrated every six years at Haridwar and Prayag, the Purna (complete) Kumbh takes place every twelve years, at four places (Prayag (Allahabad), Haridwar, Ujjain, and Nashik). The Maha (great) Kumbh Mela which comes after 12 ‘Purna Kumbh Melas’, or 144 years, is held at Allahabad.

The last Ardh Kumbh Mela was held over a period of 45 days beginning in January 2007, more than 70 million Hindu pilgrims took part in the Ardh Kumbh Mela at Prayag, and on January 15, the most auspicious day of the festival of Makar Sankranti, more than 5 million participated.

The previous Maha Kumbh Mela, held in 2001, was attended by around 60 million people, making it at the time the largest gathering anywhere in the world in recorded history.”

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kumbh_Mela

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