Pritam Rohila Travels

Reports of my travels along with some pictures

Nov 2, 2010


May 26

This morning (May 26), we visited Jade factory. Jade has been valued in China for several thousand years, and the word has been used there to denote beauty, grace, purity, and power. Even the supreme Tao deity was known as the Jade Emperor. The value of jade in China is summed up in their saying, , “Gold has a value; jade is invaluable.” Anyhow, at the factory, we were informed about the way to judge the quality of jade. Also we got to see some beautiful jade sculptures, utensils and jewelry pieces.

Then we proceeded to visit the Great Wall at Juyongguan (Suyong) Pass, about 30 miles away from Beijing. This more than 5,500-long defensive fortified wall - a World Heritage site, and the only man-made structure visible from the space - was built by several dynasties, over more than two-thousand years.

At Juyongguan (Suyong) Pass the wall surrounds an area on all four sides. The area was used as a border military garrison to defend against invasions from the north. It has towers, flat sloping areas, and steps.

Like most people Kundan and I climbed up 400-steps. Strangely the steps were varied in height!

The more adventurous in our group hiked to its section beyond this point.

We met many people

including these visitors from Thailand, and

these people posing for a group picture.

Also, the sights were fantastic!

At one place we found locks strung on chains on both sides. We were told about a tradition for newly married couples to leave a lock there.

Ironically, a structure built to keep foreigners out, now is thronged by foreigners (as well as the Chinese). By the way, during my 1982 visit to the Great Wall at Badaling, I do not recall seeing anyone except members from our group, and our local and national guides.

Also, in 1982, there was only one toilet facility in the Chinese sit-down style, without paper or running water, and stinking! Toilet facilities are much better now at the Juyongguan Pass. Also there are restaurants, hotels and hostels, all built for the 2008 Summer Olympics, when the area was extensively renovated. Many of these facilities are now closed.



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