Saturday, August 16, 2008

Bengali in Beijing - At Forbidden City

First came the Mings (with an apostrophe somewhere there), and then came the Qings (with another apostrophe somewhere). This much we all know. Somewhere along the way, the Forbidden City was created. It became the Imperial Palace of the Mings (waast), and then served as the Imperial Palace of the Qings (waas). This – according to details mentioned in guide books – means that it served as the palace for almost five centuries.

Some other basic numbers explain how massive and imposing the City is. It has 999 buildings – because 9 is another lucky number for the Chinese…lucky because according to ancient Chinese nonsense, 9 is the largest possible number. There are 8,707 bays of rooms. A total area of 720,000 square metres covered.

Obviously, touring all of it is (a) only possible over a week or so, (b) impossible. I had around two hours. This means I could only rush through a portion of it. Enough, I suppose, to form a general idea in my head and be madly excited. Enough, also, to keep my camera happy.

PS: As some of the pictures might have told you, I've bought myself a pink waist pouch.