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TRAVELOGUE: Mysterious Stonehenge

TRAVELOGUE: Mysterious Stonehenge

Sentinel Digital Desk

Mousumi Deka

Why, Who and When are the three questions which still prevail in the minds of the common people, researchers and scientists who visit the archaeological marvel, a UNESCO World Heritage site and one of the world's most enigmatic tourist attractions, Stonehenge. This is the site where a long time ago, a number of gigantic stones were erupted in a systematic way. Seeing the picture of those stones in lush green surroundings with the sunrays reflecting on the rough stone surface, I had an ardent desire to witness this beautiful historic site.

So while on a visit to London, we took the opportunity to see this mysterious place. We booked a tour from London which comprised of visiting three historical places - The majestic 'Windsor castle', the historic Roman 'Bath' and the Mysterious Stonehenge. Although the history of the other two places are well known, the history behind Stonehenge is still shrouded in darkness. Nobody knows the inherent meaning of the three W's - Why, Who and When this mysterious enigma was built.

It was a sunny August morning when we boarded the tourist bus from London. The history behind the two places – The majestic 'Windsor Castle' and the historic Roman 'Bath' were well-explained by the guide in the bus. Windsor Castle is the royal residence at Windsor in the English county of Berkshire. The original castle was built in the 11th century and since the time of Henry I, it has been used by the reigning monarch and is the longest-occupied palace in Europe. The architecture of the castle is really brilliant with its beautiful green surroundings. It was really nice to see the interiors of the castle and to know the royal way of living. We enjoyed seeing the beautiful royal drawing room, dining rooms, Queen Marry's doll room, etc. Although, it is a historic place, it is still being used byBritain's royal family for observing their royal functions.

Near the beautiful river Avon, in the city of Bath, the Roman Baths complex is a site of another historical interest. It is a well-preserved Roman site for public bathing. It was believed that in its hot spring, there existed some chemical compounds which could cure various deceases. In ancient times, it was known to the Romans who built this site. It was really nice to see its warm green-coloured water where bubbles were playing with the natural heat emanating from underneath. Also we saw a temple dedicated to Goddess Minarva.

After seeing both the sites, our next destination was the archaeological marvel – Stonehenge.Stonehenge draws up to 1.3 million visitors annually. The site —a circle of gigantic stones standing in the heart of the English countryside—surrounded by lush green fields is a site full of mystery. Onlookers gather there to admire the 5,000-year-old structure and ponder its astronomical, spiritual, or even supernatural meaning.

The bus was going through the beautiful countryside of England. We could see different shades of colours in the fields – the yellowish ripe paddy fields, green fields with healthy sheeps grazing around. When we got down from the bus, the weather outsidewas very pleasant with the bright sun shining all over. We went to the visitor's centre and from there, we were taken by a Stonehenge authorities vehicle. The vehicle went a few kilometers inside and parked at a distant. We got down from the vehicle and followed the walkway to the circle of gigantic stones. We put the audio guide instrument switched on and started listening to the site. As we approached the site, we got thrilled to see the picturesque ring of stonesgetting bigger and bigger in size. We were really thrilled to witness those photographs of gigantic stones which we see in many magazine and books coming live in front of our eyes.

The mystery of these stones built in these green surroundings thousands and thousands years ago is still not know. There are no stone hills or sites nearby to believe that these could be made from that. Then why did people carry those huge stones here and constructed in a particular H pattern all over in a circular form? Some people believe that to be having some astronomical value for which people gather here during the summer and winter solstice period. Some believe that the stones were erected as part of other religious activities.

The biggest of Stonehenge's stones, known as sarsens, are up to 30 feet tall and weigh 25 tons on an average. It is widely believed that they were brought from Marlborough Downs, a distance of 32 kilometers to the north.

Smaller stones, referred to as "bluestones" (they have a bluish tinge when wet or freshly broken), weigh up to 4 tons and come from several different sites in western Wales, having been transported as far as 225 km. It's unknown how people in antiquity moved them that far. Some people believe those had been carried by some glacier activities during the last ice age. But till date, nobody knows the actual fact behind it.

However, most of the people believe that these were made in the Neolithic period by human beings for spiritual reasons as similar kind of structures were also found in some other places in the United Kingdom. For us, we had also seen a big stone structure erected in Cumbria in Lake District in a beautiful hill. But still, research is on to find out the three "W's"- Why, Who and When to explain the existence of Stonehenge.

Whatever be the reason behind the eruption of these gigantic stones, for me it's a marvellous site created by mankind in ancient times for us to admire. I enjoyed the beautiful acres and acres of green fields around the structure. After having a roundthrough the magnificent stone structures, looking at the people relaxing in the lovely green, we too sat down in the inviting green grass. The weather was very cosy with warm sunlight all around. Listening to the audio guide and arguing with each other about the historyof Stonehenge, we sat for hours there till the sun set across its green horizon.

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