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Monday, January 5, 2015

Ice and snow sculpture festival ... China's frozen lakes

Heard of ‘niveous’ ? – the adjective would mean resembling snow, especially in whiteness.  ‘man walking on water’ is a miracle – but nothing supernatural when we understand the arts of nature.  Come December (Margazhi), Chennaites would feel the cold climate – it hovers around 20°C and we cry hoarse.

There are many places on Earth where it is sub-zero. Kunming Lake is the central lake on the grounds of the Summer Palace in Beijing,China. Together with the Longevity Hill, Kunming Lake spreading 2.2 sq km, forms the key landscape features of the Summer Palace gardens. Kunming Lake is a man-made lake. Earlier there were reservoirs which had been used as sources of water both for the city and irrigation of fields -  Guo Shoujing, a famous astronomer and engineer in his time, developed it into a reservoir for the capital of the Yuan Dynasty in 1291. In the year 1990 and 1991, the Beijing Municipal Government undertook the first dredging of the lake in 240 years.

It is a site seen as such an impressive example of landscape garden design it has been named on the World Heritage List. Usually packed with visitors during the summer, Kunming Lake is one of Beijing's best known tourist destinations. It is often used as the central stretch of water to explore the gardens and waterways of the complex Summer Palace in Beijing in China. The mercury plunged to -9°C between Christmas and New Year and the freezing temperatures are forecast to continue throughout this week and during much of January.

The locals are seemingly enjoying the weather still – many  are seen in carts and other contraptions to enjoy the icy conditions.  Tourists have been seen in carts with wheels and sledges with sticks on frozen Kunming Lake in Beijing in China.  Elsewhere, the 31st annual International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival is to commence in the northeastern Chinese city of Harbin.

Harbin first held an ice lantern festival in 1963 and has come to be known for its snow and ice sculpture festivals. Last year the festival included an elaborate ice castle intended to look like a branch of the Industrial and Commercial Bank of China, the nation’s biggest bank. Here are some photos collated from the net.

With regards – S. Sampathkumar

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