Visit to Nanjing (Post Travel Tales)

On the last day when we were in Nanjing, we managed to squeeze in a vist to the Ming Xiaoling Mausoleum where this one housed the tomb of Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang. Emperor Zhu Yuanzhang, I was convinced, was the last Emperor of China to meet Sultan Abdul Majid Hassan before he died in 1408.

This place has been recommended as a 'must see' place in Nanjing. Anyway what I did not realise was this tomb area was huge, and when I mean huge, I mean really really huge. The mausoleum lies at the foot of Purple Mountain. It took more than 20 years to complete and the original wall of the mausoleum was more than 22.5 kilometers long. They don't talk about meters here but kilometers.

What I wanted to see was the tomb but we were very disappointed. The tomb was under renovation when we visited and the whole place was closed. The next one we wanted to see was the Divine Path. Along the divine path, there were many statutes there similar to the ones guarding the path to Makam Sultan Abdul Majid Hassan but on a much larger scale. There were 6 kinds and 12 pairs of animals guarding the divine path to the tomb. Beyond the statutes is a pair of decorative columns called huabiao in Chinese. Four pairs of ministers and generals have been standing there for centuries to accompany the Emperor in his afterlife.

It was raining quite heavily when we got there and I just wanted to take one photo and go back to the car. But the Chinese driver signal to me to go on the path and he will wait at the other end. So I did that and I managed to see all the statutes after about a few kilometers walk. By the time we got to the end of that path, I was so tired and there were no cars. Apparently the cars could not go in. After a long wait and a few incomprehensible phone calls, the driver came running and asked me to walk back the few kilometers back as he could not get in. Luckily enough along the way, he managed to persuade a Chinese policeman to give us a lift.

The policeman sent us to the wrong carpark (this place, I realised afterwards has a few car parks - it is huge) and when he tried to turn around we found the car going down a few steps. So he has to let us go out. After waiting for so long, that policeman (bless him) actually went round searching for the right carpark and then he came back and called us to get back in the car. He was a really kind man and the most helpful Chinese man in China that I have met. My colleague took that photo that looks as if I have been 'arrested' but the problem is that everyone was smiling! He was actually trying to squeeze me into his small car.

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