May 06, 2012

Heads of State

Five thousand years ago the first Yandi ("Flame Emperor") ascended the Chinese throne. He was credited with introducing basic agricultural techniques and herbal medicine to the masses. The last Yandi was defeated by the first Huangdi ("Yellow Emperor"), who also got a lot of accolades for bringing about the invention of the Chinese calendar, astronomy, and character writing system. In the Chinese doctrine of five phases, fire creates earth, and yellow follows red, so everything fits together quite nicely. At the Yellow River Scenic Area near Zhengzhou, these two legendary figures have been immortalized in China's homage to Mount Rushmore.

A massive man made square separates the two stone figures on the mountain from the mighty river, which was barely visible due to the heavy fog. On the square, a reenactment of a royal procession kept me occupied for some time. A bevy of long haired beauties were dressed in colourful ethnic wear. After the show was over, my travel partner Swathish and I climbed swiftly to the top of the mountain to examine the two large sculptures of the emperors heads. On the way down we took a more circuitous and relaxing route, stopping three times.

The first stop was at the viewpoint from which Mao had stood and declared the Yellow River to be of great strategic importance. The second time was when we happened upon a fine artist who could very quickly modify traditional water brush paintings he had prepared in advance and add personalized calligraphy to them. Impressed by his handiwork, we commissioned the artist to create several parchments. The third stop was when several Chinese girls spotted me and asked me to pose with them for some pictures. Always the gentleman, I gladly obliged. My travel partner stood to the side, simmering with quiet jealousy.


"Arnab reveled in the some of his favourite items - Chinese beauties and concrete monsters." - Swathish