An ancient enigma

By | Travel
Stonehenge, an ancient archaeological marvel. Credit: Suruchi Sharma Diwan

Built during the Stone Age in 3,000 BC, Stonehenge may be one of the world’s most well known sites. A pile of rocks, standing in the middle of open space, in a vast green land; that is how some novices generally describe Britain’s iconic archaeological site, Stonehenge.

This  ring of monolithic stones has been luring a steady flow of nomads, dreamers, poets and philosophers for the last 5,000 years. Stonehenge seems to still manage to be a mystical and ethereal place – a lingering echo from Britain’s past, and a reminder of the ceremonial marvels of what ancestors were able to accomplish.

Visiting Stonehenge may be simple – take a train from central London to Salisbury, from there, hop on the tour bus from Salisbury to Stonehenge. The perks of taking the bus tour – apart from offering direct entry to the world heritage site, and thus eliminating the long queues, it may offer complimentary entry into a 3,000 year historical town called Old Sarum (site of the earliest settlement of Salisbury).

The first glimpse of Stonehenge may come from the road, playing hide and seek on the A303 that leads towards the entrance to the monument. More than only ‘some stones standing on the ground,’ and they form an interesting horseshoe pattern, with some rocks being placed on top of each other.

There are various stories and myths related to the site. Some point toward Stonehenge being an astrological calendar used by farmers, while others believe this was a place of healing (since the blue stones have been associated with the powers of healing). The mounds close to the site, which are said to be the burial site for royalty, give the place a spiritual meaning.

However, the closest explanation of Stonehenge is it being the place of worship or the temple of the sun god, the alignment of stones with the rising and setting of the sun being one example. All these myths and theories further enhance the questions surrounding this structure.

A fence surrounds Stonehenge, keeping visitors at a safe distance. Though there is a special access tour which allows visitors inside the circle and stand in the middle of the structure, it is available only on selected times. Either early in the morning or in the evening, and needs to be pre booked and paid for in advance.

Which other manmade structure offer a sense of mystery?

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