Great Wall of China, a magical creation of humankind
An evening in China’s capital Beijing. We were discussing our next trip destination. We almost forgot about one of the world wonders that was so near to us, the Great Wall of China.
My friend is from China. The handheld device with us (phone, tablet) is more than enough to know about how to reach near the Great Wall of China.
One can reach the long Great Wall through more than one route. We decided to go to that portion which is less explored. Most of the portions of the wall, were renovated, especially those regions where tourists flocks to. We wanted to see the giant structure in its original beauty. Also the outskirts of China can be seen.
We needed a taxi for the trip. But, language was a barrier in China. There were only a very few people who spoke English. We again took advantage to our phones. The correct route was seen on Google Map. Also it was possible to translate to into Chinese. We were so relieved to have found a guide in our phone. We approached a taxi driver at the stand. We talked to him using the phone. It almost understood what we conveyed.
We had told the driver that we needed to get out of the city before peak time traffic started. We needed to travel more than 80 kilometres to the place which we selected.
The next morning while we were having breakfast, the phone rang. All I understood was ‘taxi’. I shortened my reply to a ‘yes’. When we reached the taxi stand, the driver was standing there smiling. We confirmed by pointing at the device. He opened the door.
From then on, it was one adventurous ride. The journey was through an isolated route. A person who knows no English word was behind the wheel. My friend smiled at me. We held onto the most precious object in our hand. Within half-an-hour, our car left the city. Then, we entered into a small road that was climbing towards the sky.
The route was very isolated. On both sides there were farms of maize-like plants. Beyond them were beautiful mountains. We were unable to ask anything to the driver. My friend was confirming the route by looking at the map on the phone. In situations like these, the device can be extremely helpful. But, my friend was falling asleep in between. So I took up the job of reconfirming the route.
The world wonder I had seen before was the Grand Canyon in America. It is completely built by nature. There was no effort from humankind towards it. Unlike that, Great Wall of China is completely built by man. Nature has only tried to destroy it.
Great Wall of China is the structure that took the most hours of human effort. It took more than 2000 years to complete. It was built across the historical northern borders of China to protect and consolidate territories of Chinese states and empire against various nomadic groups of the steppe and their polities.
Several walls were being built from as early as the 7th century BC by ancient Chinese states. Selected stretches were later joined together by Qin Shi Huang (220–206 BC), the first Emperor of China. Little of the Qin wall remains today. Later on, many successive dynasties built and maintained multiple stretches of border walls. The most well-known sections of the wall were built by the Ming dynasty (1368–1644).
The Great Wall is believed to be more than 20,000 km long. The length can be envisioned as the distance from Kochi to Delhi in a straight line.
Driver stopped the car. We alighted. Driver showed us where he was going to park, so that we wouldn’t have to search for him when we return. Car had already covered some distance. But we still had to climb so as to reach the Great Wall. We could see it from there. There a was lake in front of us. If we walk around it, we would reach our destination. It was a long 10 km journey through a risky narrow route.
Finally, we reached our destination. The nature was so beautiful all around us. The Great Wall was built through dense forests and sky-high mountains. Now, in some places near the Wall, there are human residences.
But back then, it would have been so hard for people to build this massive structure, that too without any mechanical assistance. We should really bow down to the determination of that great man who initiated the construction of the Great Wall.
The Great Wall not only was for defence, but for border controls, for trade and the control of immigration and emigration. Furthermore, it acted as watch towers, troop barracks, garrison stations and signalling stations.
We were completely absorbed into the beauty and dominating attitude of the manmade wonder. We wondered how many would have been welcomed by this Wall, how many events would have it witnessed!!
- It is not right to say that the Great Wall of China is a structure that can be witnessed from the moon. It would be like claiming a hair strand lying on floor can be seen from a distance of 3 km.
- There are sites at the Great Wall, which can be reached on trains or buses from Beijing.
- It is normal that the temperature here falls below zero degree Celsius during winter (December, January, February).