Monument for a Poet: Kavishaila, Stonehenge in Karnataka!

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Kavishaila in Kuppalli, Bangalore, India: photo by @nikhilvshetty on Instagram.

This one is lovely.

It is rare to run across a replica that is built for reasons that are truly moving, but this is one. Kuvempu, the poet playwright and novelist in whose honour it was built (portrayed in a Google doodle on the anniversary of his birth in 2017*) when he died in 1994, was and is truly beloved by many speakers of the Kannada language in which he wrote, especially those who love the natural world and high-minded philosophy. Wikipedia says of this monument:

Kavishaila is a rock monument made of megalithic rocks and dedicated to Kuvempu. It is on the top of a small hill in Kuppalli. Arranged in a circular fashion, the rocks have been placed to resemble the Stonehenge in England. At the centre of this rock monument is the place where Kuvempu was laid to rest after his death and a memorial has been constructed at that location. Near this monument, is a small rock where Kuvempu used to sit and discuss about literature and other topics with his other literature friends.

The view from this high place is said to be breathtaking, green forest stretched out below with a view to the hills. It is recommended to be there at sunset when, as you see in the picture above, on a clear evening the light streams through the trilithons onto the place where the poet was laid to rest.

We know of many monuments and sculptures that resemble Stonehenge around the world, but that we hesitate to post here because we are not certain they were built with Stonehenge in mind. In this case, however, there seems to be no doubt. We don’t know what the connection is that inspired someone to erect a Stonehenge in this man’s honour (and perhaps we could discover that if we could read his language), but maybe it was just that the mystery and beauty and sense of something truly great that Stonehenge represents to so many people is the same feeling that the writings of this poet and thinker inspire in people.

Yes, as far as form goes, it is only a partial circle of straight-sided stone trilithons. But as with the beautiful partial Stonehenge in the far north of the Galician section of Spain placed high and looking out to sea to honour those who died at the hands of the brutal Franco regime, its meaning helps it to transcend its form. If we were still awarding our (humourously meant! Yes, we know they had nothing to do with it.) druid scores, this would get a solid 8 druids. A thing of beauty.

Before we finish talking about it, here is a fun addition. Looking through Instagram one day, as you do, we found an image of a replica of this replica. If you know us, you know we love the meta quality of that. Here it is, built for a display at the Lalbagh Botanical Garden in Bengaluru, India. It also speaks to how well known Kavashaila is in India.

Our thanks to friend Barry Teague for making us aware of this memorial, and to Nikhil V. Shetty for kind permission to use his lovely photograph here.

Oh, wait! We almost forgot to mention, Clonehenge was mentioned in the Guardian newspaper this week! We got a mention and a link in the thoughtful and many-faceted article about the Stonehenge tunnel dilemma, The Battle for the Future of Stonehenge, by Charlotte Higgins. Truly a privilege and a little moment of fame for this humble blogger. Many thanks to you, Ms. Higgins, and to whatever little bird may have whispered our name in your ear!

And so until next time, Gentle Readers, once again we wish you happy henging!

 

*The Kuvempu Google doodle, in which he appears to be seated at the site where Kavishaila was built:Screen Shot 2019-02-10 at 9.33.30 AM.png

 

Stonehenge Cake at Stonehenge! Centenary Day Has Arrived!

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From @EH_Stonehenge on Twitter:
“No, your eyes aren’t deceiving you, there are two monuments at Stonehenge today. One is a giant cake fit for 2,500 hungry guests!

Look at this! (And yes, we include the obvious rain in that demand.) Look at the lichen on those lintels! Look at the shapes of those stones, including the little bumps and creases! The three-lintel stretch and Stone #56! This has to be the most accurate Stonehenge cake ever (and we’ve heard it includes spiced apple and blackberry cream, or similar. We will look into this and report back with corrections to that crucial information). And there it is, with Stonehenge in the background! *sigh* Perfection.

Not far away, at the Visitor Centre, Jeremy Deller’s inflatable bouncy Stonehenge is inflated and ready for bouncing. What a day for Stonehenge and English Heritage, yes, but more importantly, what a day for Stonehenge replicas! How we wish we were there, gentle readers.

Reason for the celebration? On this day, 100 years ago, Cecil and Mary Chubb gifted Stonehenge to the nation. It hasn’t been perfect. There is reason to doubt, as Mr. Tim Daw so eloquently makes the case. And the tunnel threat could soon ruin some important landscape around it, as prominent archaeologist and Stonehenge expert Michael Parker Pearson points out.

Still, we are a humble blog about Stonehenge replicas, sitting safely in the warm and dry an ocean away from the festivities and for now we are enjoying the clonehenges associated with this celebration! Congratulations to all, including everyone at English Heritage, and may Stonehenge continue to reign in the hearts and minds of people around the world!

(And inspire them to build more and better models of it!)

Kiss the stones for us!

Jörg Sorge’s Concrete Stonehenge in Magdeburg: “Inside I Am a Celt”!

Photo copyright Dennis Kotzian, used with permission

 

A translation from German of the original caption of this photo reads:

Stonehenge in Magdeburg

During a walk around the Salbker Lake, you can see a replica of Stonehenge, which is the stone circle cult site of the Celts in southern England.

Stone mason Jörg Sorge from Magdeburg has built this on his property.”

There is so much to unpack here.

For one thing, a little research makes it clear that although he is a stone mason, Sorge has fashioned these ‘stones’ out of concrete, texturing and painting them to resemble stone. A lot of time and creativity, and so presumably love and enthusiasm, has gone into this.

And then of course there is the whole Celtic thing, which we learn more about in another article, where Sorge, who plays the bagpipe and sometimes wears a kilt, asserts that “inside i am a Celt”. In one article, featuring a picture of him in said kilt, standing in his Stonehenge, we read:

The culture of the rugged Scottish highlands has fascinated Jörg Sorge for years. He has long felt like a Celt, last summer he also fulfilled the dream of Stonehenge. Now the replica of the Bronze Age stone circle stands in his garden and serves as a backdrop to the Celtic Fire Festival.

Copyright Dennis Kotzian, used with permission

Well, we’ll allow them the Bronze Age bit. Stonehenge was started and much work was done long before that, but the stone circle the replica depicts does seem to have been completed in the Bronze Age. Certainly the dagger art on the stones dates to that time.

But by all accounts, whether ‘Celtic’ culture (no, we’re not going to enter the discussion of whether the term Celtic itself is so broad as to be almost meaningless, an attempt to lump together too many diverse smaller groupings–such discussions are for serious people and we just ain’t one of them, thank whatever gods there be!) washed in like a tide over peoples already in Britain or if it arrived along with new groups of people landing on the island from the continent, it had not yet arrived when Stonehenge was completed. Of that we can be sure. There is certainly no evidence of kilts and bagpipes in any burial in the area of Stonehenge, then or since!

But luckily, Stonehenge replicas are just for fun, and far be it from us to discourage people from championing their inner Celt, whatever they fancy that means, or their inner Viking, or their inner Elf or Ent for that matter. It is useful to explore what has meaning for you, however outlandish it might seem to others. We may find real hidden parts of ourselves by starting with fanciful things we’re drawn to. We at Clonehenge have seen it happen.

This replica that Sorge has built from his inner inspiration and by the work of his own hands has already brought delight to other people, like those who attended the Celtic Fire Festival, and it is certainly worthy of inclusion on our list of large permanent replicas. Well done,sir, say we!

Let this be a lesson to us all, Gentle Readers, and let us not fear to pursue or more whimsical inclinations, regardless of what others think of them. They may turn out to be a way to enhance not only our lives but the lives of others, and encourage them to be more free as well.

So until next time (which may well be after the official Clonehenge trip to Stonehenge and environs!*), dear friends, happy henging!

*if you are at Stonehenge equinox access on the morning of the 23rd, we may see you there!

Stonehenge at the Bao Dai Waterfall Park, Our First in Vietnam! (But y tho?)

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Photo by Attila Kovácsics, used with permission.

To be honest, we don’t know much about it.

When was it built?

Why was it built?

Who built it?

We would love to know!* But for now we just know that this Stonehenge exists in Dalat, in Vietnam’s central highlands, and it is on the grounds of a park that was created because of gorgeous waterfalls there.

We do know that, although the stone shapes are way off, there is a three-lintel stretch and the inner trilithons are taller than the outer circle. So bravo to someone! A few things right is better than none. And it is another for our list of Large Permanent Replicas, which is now up to 90, and could soon be 91, pending information on a Stonehenge sculpture in Kansas.

What makes someone build a Stonehenge replica in a park in Vietnam? That is just part of the mystery that keeps us in a state of wonder here at Clonehenge headquarters!

We have more posts coming up for you. One is about a Stonehenge replica in Magdeburg Germany, built by a man who is enthusiastic about Scottish culture. We have seen a picture of him wearing a kilt and standing inside his Stonehenge. So that’s fun, isn’t it?

And we have another long-ish interview post, this time with a historian who has a unique perspective on Stonehenge and the proliferation of Stonehenge replicas.

In the meantime, follow @Clonehenge on Twitter, or join the Facebook group or page to keep up with frequent postings of henges large and small, or to send us henge photos of your own!

And until next time, Gentle Readers, thank you and happy henging!

*If you have any information on this henge, please comment below or send it to nancy at clonehenge.com .

Transatlantic Coalition of Stonehenge Experts Builds Stonehenge with Toy Blocks!

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Simon Banton and Neil Wiseman ponder their remake of Stonehenge. Photo by Andy Burns.

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Actual plan of Stonehenge to compare

We know it for ourselves: these grey blocks are irresistible. Off in one corner of the wonderful Wiltshire Museum which displays, among many wonderful things, a collection called Gold from the Time of Stonehenge, there is a children’s section that includes rectangular grey blocks and a round green base to build on. What possibilities! The very sight of it casts a spell of inevitability on any true henger.

 

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Neil Wiseman admiring his handiwork at the Wiltshire Museum. Photo by Simon Banton.

Enter, from stage left, two Stonehenge experts and over-qualified hengers: Mr. Simon Banton, introduced to our readers a few posts ago and whose blog includes a page for each stone at Stonehenge, and Mr. Neil Wiseman, author of the book Stonehenge and the Neolithic Cosmos: A New Look at the Oldest Mystery in the World. The two gentlemen assert that they did not actually visit the museum solely to make a Stonehenge replica, but the same siren song of the grey blocks that sang to us during our visit three years ago lured them to the children’s section. The result was both extraordinary and, in a way, hilarious—hilarious, we mean, by virtue of the contrast between the simplicity of those grey children’s blocks and the level of expertise Wiseman and Banton brought to bear on them.

You may compare their accomplishment with the aerial view of Stonehenge we have provided for that purpose. Within the limitations of the medium, this is probably the best Stonehenge replica possible. If we were still handing out Druid scores for henges, we would have to give this one 9 Druids. And yes, as the cognoscenti might remind us, Druids had nothing to do with the building of Stonehenge, but it is so much a part of public perceptions of the monument that it amuses us to use it as our metric.

Of course, we hasten to say that we do not expect this kind of precision from the common henger. It is, however, not cheating to actually look at a picture of Stonehenge before you build. You, too, can beat the dreaded Circle of Trilithons Syndrome!

Addendum: pertinent to our previous post about Stonehenge Centenary Day, below is a picture of Mr. Tim Daw (of the first modern long barrow, and the resting concrete trilithon we’ve mentioned here in the past) at that event* and rather dapperly dressed for it, putting together a wooden Stonehenge he made for English Heritage. It is a lovely thing, in the category of replicas that show Stonehenge as it is thought to have looked at its height. Note the diagram at the lower left, being used as a guide.

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Photo by Brian Edwards.

If these people who know Stonehenge so well and have spent time there are compelled to build their own, how then are the rest of us to resist the imperative? Give in. Make henges and be happy!

Until next time, friends, we wish you happy henging!

*We hope to post some pictures of henges from the henging contest at the centenary event at some future date.

 

Stonehenge Merapi: Visit Stonehenge in Indonesia! With Evacuation Routes, Just in Case!

Stonehenge Merapi, photo by rovi tavare

This is your up-to-date Stonehenge reporter, with the latest news tracking Stonehenge as it spreads itself around the globe! Today we present to you…drumroll…Stonehenge in Indonesia! Not just in Indonesia, but on the slope of a recently-erupted volcano!

Built some time in late 2016, it stands on the island of Java, on the slope of Mount Merapi, a volcano that erupted in 2010 and is still considered active. One site, translated from the Indonesian reassures us, “Stonehenge building is actually also located in KRB III (disaster prone area) but not to worry because the manager also provides evacuation routes.” Comforting!

“No need to go to England!” one site proclaims. You can save yourself a trip and take those selfies here!

One remarkable thing we have never seen at another large Stonehenge replica is a sign in front of the monument, a set of large red letters that spell STONEHENGE in our familiar Latin alphabet! Take note, English Heritage!

Stonehenge Merapi, sign and all, photo by Angki Hermawan.

A surprising number of photos and videos of this Stonehenge can be found online, especially considering how new it is, a testament to its popularity with tourists and locals alike. Someone must have known it would receive a hearty welcome. There are even some of those misty, moody photos that reveal the presence of that kind of monument photographer with nothing to do but lurk about in all weathers waiting for the perfect shot—stone botherers, as we’ve heard them called. Doesn’t take them long to show up when something like this appears. They certainly have kindred spirits back in sites around Wiltshire!

And what do we think of it? The stones are nicely uneven if a bit lanky. It does look as if the builders paid enough attention to face the inner trilithon horseshoe toward the three-lintel stretch in the outer circle. But few bluestone-like bits and no ditch or bank, so we’ll award it 8 druids. No, wait! 8 1/2 druids—the extra half is for building it on the slope of an active volcano. That is very much in the spirit of Clonehenge! Kudos to the builders, whoever they are!

So if you find yourself on Java, in the city of Yogyakarta, famous for the beautiful 9th century temple of Borobodur, be sure to make a detour to Lost World Castle to see this amazing lava Stonehenge, and don’t wait too long. At any time another eruption could end its brief but brilliant life! And until next time, friends, happy henging!

BEST STONEHENGE REPLICA EVER: Built Near Stonehenge by Hollywood!

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Transformers 5 Stonehenge replica, photo by Rose Senior

This is it—the new standard for hengers everywhere! It is only a partial replica, but the part they did build captures the feel of the real—the right size, shapes, proportions, placement, colours, indentations, markings. Attention was paid to the real thing.

We don’t know what it’s made of or who made it, but we do know the why. It was created for scenes in the fifth and latest movie in the Transformers franchise, a film series based on, well, toys, not to put too fine a point on it. We laugh, but the Transformers series of movies is the: “4th highest-grossing when averaged to gross per film, behind the The Lord of the Rings, Harry Potter, and Pirates of the Caribbean film series.” So says Wikipedia. Big movie stars including Anthony Hopkins, Mark Wahlberg, and Stanley Tucci will be in this film. In fact, the first two were in Wiltshire this past week filming at Stonehenge and at the replica, and possibly at a rumoured secret second replica (!!!).

There is money behind this film. Big money. It is safe to say that this is the most expensive Stonehenge replica ever created. And we must say, we are impressed with what money can do! Brilliant work has been done in shaping, placing, and colouring these ‘stones’. They are so well done that even as respected an institution as the Daily Mail briefly published an article with pictures of it that claimed it was the real Stonehenge.

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This picture’s caption in the Daily Mail read: “The replica was so realistic it led many to claim the original structure had in fact been used by the filmmakers.” (And that ‘many’ seem to have been writers for the Mail.)

The figure standing in the above picture is Anthony Hopkins. We don’t often get to see celebrities at Stonehenge replicas, so we just wanted to point this out. This is henging at a whole other level.

Making false things appear real is what Hollywood excels at. In this case, how did they do it? There is a lot we don’t know, but the marvelous Rose Senior captured a bit of the magic and is kindly willing to share it with readers of the Clonehenge blog. The following photos show fake lichen being applied to the replica stones, and in one we see pictures of the lichen on the real stones, used as guidance for the ‘painters’ of the false ones.

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‘Lichen’ being applied to the ‘stones’. Photo by Rose Senior.

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Pictures of the real stones being used to guide one of the painters of the replica stones. Photo by Rose Senior.

Rose tells us that when the paint was being thrown at the stones, it made a hollow sound. It isn’t surprising that the stones were hollow, but the question of the material involved remain tantalisingly unanswered. The hollowness of these stones, which were just by Bilbury Rings Hillfort off the A303, also brings us back to rumours of a second and mysterious Stonehenge replica, secreted somewhere in the Wiltshire countryside. Hollow stones might not be ideal to use if you want a good scene of Stonehenge being blown up (and blowing things up is another thing Hollywood and in particular this film series is known for), so might the rumoured secret replica be solid and possibly smaller, built solely for blowing up and exploding the stones in a visually satisfying manner? That is our guess.

If anyone has further information (or photos!) on the rumoured replica or on the materials and creators of the known one, please tell us and we will add the information to this post. There are so many things our inquiring minds want to know! It is exciting to have Hollywood with its famous people and huge quantities of money walk right into our wheelhouse, so to speak.

Once again we are left to marvel at how many walks of life a fascination with Stonehenge replicas can draw one into. Science, religion, art, foods, politics, movies—Stonehenge replicas are built in connection with all these topics and more. Not to mention little toy cars that can change into monsters!

And with that profound philosophical note, we wish you all, friends, some very happy henging!

P.S.: Our thanks to Rose Senior, Tim Daw, Simon Banton, and @Fromegooner for help with this post!