Photo Friday: Loha Prasat (Thailand)

International Travel, Photography

Wat Ratchanaddaram is a Buddhist temple (wat) located at the intersection between Ratchadamnoen Klang and Maha Chai Road, in Phra Nakhon district, Bangkok. Meaning “Royal Niece,” the temple was built to the order of King Nangklao (Rama III) for Mom Chao Ying Sommanus Wattanavadi in 1846. The temple is best known for the Loha Prasat, a multi-tiered structure 118 feet (36 meters) high and having 37 metal spires, signifying the 37 virtues toward enlightenment. It is the third Loha Prasada (brazen palace) in existence, modeled after earlier ones in India and Sri Lanka.

In the past, Loha Prasat was hidden behind an old movie theater named Chalerm Thai. The theater were demolished in 1989 as a project to improve scenery along Ratchadamnoen Road. It can still be tricky to find, though. Our taxi driver dropped us off at the wrong temple, though we were able to make our way thanks to GPS. Of course, finding a taxi to take us back to our hotel during rush hour was a whole other story.

Photos taken July 24, 2012.

Photo Friday: Habu Temple (Egypt)

International Travel, Photography

Habu Temple is the name commonly given to the Mortuary Temple of Ramses III, a New Kingdom period structure on the West Bank of Luxor. Aside from its inherent size and architectural and artistic importance, the temple is probably best known as the source of inscribed reliefs depicting the advent and defeat of the Sea Peoples during the reign of Ramses III. It is a remarkable site. The carvings here are the deepest of any temple we visited in Egypt and there remain some areas wonderfully colored.

Beware, though, like most sites in Egypt, there are men wondering around that look official and offer to show you some areas usually not open to the public. After they take you around a bit, they’ll demand a tip and aren’t afraid to show their displeasure if it’s not of an amount to their liking.

Photos taken January 2, 2011

Photo Friday: Beijing’s Hutongs (China)

International Travel, Photography

In Beijing, hutongs are alleys formed by lines of siheyuan, traditional quadrangle courtyard residences. Many neighborhoods were formed by joining one siheyuan to another to form a hutong, and then joining one hutong to another. Nearly all siheyuan had their main buildings and gates facing south for better lighting; thus a majority of hutongs run from east to west. Between the main hutongs, many tiny lanes ran north and south for convenient passage.

Following the founding of the People’s Republic of China in 1949, many of the old hutongs of Beijing disappeared, replaced by wide boulevards and high rises. Many residents left the lanes where their families lived for generations for apartment buildings with modern amenities. Today, the surviving hutongs are considered by many to be a quintessential part of Beijing. In particular, the Houhai area has become a focal point for tourists, where they can enjoy the lakes, along with the Drum and Bell Towers.

Photos taken July 2, 2012.

Weekly Photo Challenge: Grand

International Travel, Photography

My first thought when seeing this prompt was the library located in the Abbey of St. Gallen, Switzerland. It’s an amazingly visual experience, but photos are not allowed, so there goes that idea. Nearby, though, in the Cathedral of St. Gallen, photos are allowed and its interior is also very striking, and grand.

According to, “Begun in 1755, the existing building is one of the last monumental Baroque buildings in Europe. A white interior is adorned with green wedding cake ornamentation (stucco-work), rose marble altars and a gilded altar screen. Ceiling frescoes depict biblical characters, and throngs of cherubs and saints gaze upon the scene from among the clouds of heaven.” I have included a few photos as one did not seem to do the location justice.

Photos taken June 7, 2013.

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