The bus got us right outside London Bridge and we hauled a few more passengers along the way.
It was cold and we hoped that the weather gods would be kind, We prayed for clear blue skies. :)
But they had other plans. As the ride unravelled we found ourselves inside the pretty English country side.The unending yellow of beautiful mustard fields against the backdrop of dark grey provided a somber mood for the journey. Since we left early we did have to get some coffee to get the sleep out of our systems.
The commentary from our tour guide provided interesting insights not just into what might have been the history of Stonehenge,but also about the life in and around these areas. As instructed we kept an eye out for Tanks, as they were supposed to be tested here.
We did not see any. We did catch fleeting glimpses of hares hopping across fields disappearing into bushes.
When we got to Stonhenge we had no idea how chilly it was outside. The open expanse left us vulnerable to cold gusts of wind. We almost froze at the end of the tour.
We were given our audio guides and we walked along listening. Even today nobody can tell for certain what those stones represent or why men undertook the herculean task of bringing them up there.
What is agreed upon is that it was definitely a huge feat for men from anytime. The oldest stones could be as old as 3000 BC.
There seemed to be three concentric rings of stones, some placed(arranged) on top of others. It looked like some kind of Roundtable. To me at first glance it definitely looked like some kind of sundial. The word Stonehenge could mean 'Hanging Stones'. Researchers can't tell for certain though. Nothing about Stonehenge can be said for certain :). That by itself should say how old these stones should be , so old that research really hasn't been able to reach out far enough into the past and place the pieces of the jigsaw such that they fit!
The Etymology of Stonehenge was explained in Wikipedia.
"The Oxford English Dictionary cites Ælfric's 10th-century glossary, in which henge-cliff is given the meaning "precipice", a hanging or supported stone, thus the stanenges or Stanheng "not far from Salisbury" recorded by 11th-century writers are "supported stones". William Stukeley in 1740 notes, "Pendulous rocks are now called henges in Yorkshire...I doubt not, Stonehenge in Saxon signifies the hanging stones." Christopher Chippindale's Stonehenge Complete gives the derivation of the name Stonehenge as coming from the Old English words stān meaning "stone", and either hencg meaning "hinge" (because the stone lintels hinge on the upright stones) or hen(c)en meaning "hang" or "gallows" or "instrument of torture". Like Stonehenge's trilithons, medieval gallows consisted of two uprights with a lintel joining them, rather than the inverted L-shape more familiar today. - Wikipedia"
How did these stones get here? It would have definitely taken many men and a lot of effort leave alone hauling them one above the other. It would have required some kind of engineering. There is actually a school of thought which believes that since only a very sophisticated society could have pulled of this incredible feat, it was probably done by aliens . (Raised Eyebrows?... No me doesn't like Aliens too much so am just hoping its giant men..They definitely seem more benign )
"Stonehenge's orientation in relation to the rising and setting sun has always been one of its most remarkable features. Yet it remains uncertain whether this was because its builders came from a sun-worshipping culture or because - as some have asserted - the circle and its banks were part of a huge astronomical calendar?
What cannot be denied is the ingenuity of the builders of Stonehenge. With only very basic tools - such as antler picks and bone 'shovels' - at their disposal, they dug the enclosing ditch and erected the bank, later using similar tools to dig the holes for the stones." - English Heritage
The closest we got was a couple of feet away from the inner ring. The rings are cordoned off using ropes. Stonehenge is a world heritage site and was voted as one of the wonders of Briton.
As we drove away it was hard to stop myself from thinking about this mysterious place. When you visit places like these you are left with the longing to know just a little bit more , a tiny peek into what went through the mind that engineered this structure, who would have had such an idea and what did it take?..
I felt the same feeling when I visited Roopkund in the Himalayas last year. It left me wondering why a congregation of so many had been there and how they had perished, 'The Riddles of the Dead' , as National Geographic eloquently put it. Who were these people and why were they here? Will we ever know?