Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Oct 29, 2010


June 4

Today, we got up at 4 a.m. We had to catch our one-hour-ten-minute flight to Xian, at 7:50 a.m. Therefore, armed with boxed breakfast, at 6 a.m., we climbed into our bus for the airport.

At the Xian airport, we were greeted by Kathy, our local guide. Kathy is the oldest of3 children, all born before China initiated its one-child policy. Her grandfather, apparently from a well-to-do family, had one wife, but 11 concubines! All lived in the same house, although each concubine had her own compound. Kathy’s mother was the fifth concubine, but only one to bear children.

In the parking lot, as we waited for the driver to load our luggage into the bus, a woman appeared from nowhere and started doing the job. And after, she was done, she demanded money from us. Reluctantly, Kathy gave her some money. Kathy explained that, at times, some unauthorized individuals try to supplement their income this way.

We first went to a restaurant for lunch. The restaurant was located on the second floor of an impressive building called, “Flourishing International Hotel.”

On the second floor, on way to and from the restaurant, one had pass through a number of stalls selling a variety of objects of tourist interest.

It was another example of the growing commercialism and capitalism in communist China. Even at non-functioning temples, incense and candles are sold to the tourists. Also the head covers of airplane seats carry a variety of ads.

After lunch, we proceeded to the Terracotta Warrior Museum.

First discovered in 1974, a huge building has been constructed over some of the excavated pits.

An exhibition hall, next door,
displays some of the statutes, along with other artifacts,

including a replica of miniature bronze chariots.

Qin Shihuang
, the first emperor of China,

had employed 700,000 laborers, who worked for 40 year to build a massive, underground mausoleum for him.

Among other marvels, they created an army of 7,000 life-size terracotta soldiers crafted to guard over his tomb. They included




and officers, each with a unique face

Even Horses and soldiers were buried alive!

But according to some displays at the Shaanxi Provincial Museum, this practice was not unusual in China. Kings and other wealthy people believed that they would need animals and slaves for service, wherever they were going after death!

Qin Shihuang, the grandson of an insignificant royal concubine, had miserable childhood. But his lot improved, after his father, with the help of a clever, wealthy merchant managed to capture the throne of the state of Qin. At the age of 13, Qin Shihuang succeeded his father in 246 BC. In the first 25 years of his reign, after relentless wars, he defeated the other six states. In 221 BC, he founded the first centralized empire of China.

Qin Shihuang left greatest and long-lasting influence on the new nation. He standardized Chinese characters, currency, weights, measures, and cart-axles. Also he built highways,

and ordered building and restoration of the Great Wall of China.

Even the name of the country is derived from his name (Qin à Chin à China). His reforms contributed immensely to the economic and cultural development of China.

But he was a brutal man. He had not only the guilty man killed, but also his immediate and extended family, and even his classmates, teachers, friends, and acquaintances. He burnt many classic books, and buried 460 scholars alive. He burdened people with endless wars, compelled them to build his mausoleum and the Great Wall and forced them, especially the wealthy people, to migrate to his new capital near Xian. (

No wonder that he was very unpopular. People were glad that his rule lasted only for 11 years, and his dynasty collapsed four years later. And even before the mausoleum was complete, people raided it, destroyed some artifacts and set parts of it on fire!

After going around the museum, sipping on teas of our choice, as a part of traditional tea ceremony, at the nearby gift shop, was a refreshing interlude.

After dinner, we went to our hotel.



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