4 Monuments That Are Symbols of Love
Love is of multiple types and these four monuments celebrate it in its different forms
This February as we celebrate love, it is but obvious that we must talk about those monuments that symbolise eternal love. You must have pictured the Taj Mahal as the ultimate symbol of undying love. However contrary to what you might think, the Taj Mahal is not the only symbol of true love. A simple Google search will show that to you. Although in this list we look at some monuments that evade your Google search.
Humans are known to go out of their way and means to show their love. There are several temples, castles and manors built by people for their chosen ones. They are standing testaments for the variety of love there is- unrequited love, true love and tragic love. In this compilation of 4 Monuments that are Symbols of Love let us discuss stories that will leave you with awe, humour and a little more warmth in your heart.
Sanchi Stupa, India
Sanchi in Madhya Pradesh is well known for its Buddhist architecture and the famous Ashoka Pillar. It is one of the last places you’d go for a love story. It is funny to think that the Buddhist influence in Sanchi is the result of a love story.
Ashoka, was sent by his father to Ujjain before he succeeded as the next Mauryan Emperor. During a halt at Vidhisha, a city 10km away from Sanchi, he was intrigued by the boldness and beauty of a Merchant’s daughter.
The merchant’s house was right next door and Ashoka got wind of a rumour that the merchant’s daughter refused to meet the ‘arrogant king’ as Ashoka was then. When on a chance encounter, Ashoka asked her father her hand in marriage for which he agreed. Devi, the merchant’s daughter refused the proposal however yielded on a condition. She was a staunch Buddhist and asked Ashoka to win his oncoming battle without bloodshed.
On keeping his word, Devi not only married Ashoka but also respected him. Back at home in Pataliputra, Ashoka’s father refused to acknowledge the match. Devi returned home. She raised her two children in Sanchi. Ashoka began constructing the stupa here and Devi preceded over the construction.
After succeeding the throne, Ashoka asked his wife to come and live with him in the Palace where she became the chief Queen. As the years have passed, the enigmatic Stupa has overshadowed the love that played a hand in building it.
Mystery Castle, USA
From all the four monument in our list, Mystery Castle is perhaps the most heartwarming. The Mystery Castle is a result of love however it is not a love shared between two lovers but that of a father for his daughter.
Mr. Boyce Luther Gulley was a middle aged man who was happy with his wife and four year old daughter in the United States. His happiness was short lived when he got diagnosed with tuberculosis. In the 1930s, there was no cure for this disease. To protect his young family and spare his daughter of heartache, he disappeared right after he visited the doctor. The family didn’t know what had happened.
Three years later, he arrived at Arizona, a city amidst dry desert in the US. Gulley had missed his daughter Mary Lou. He would remember the times they would build sandcastles on the beach. Every time the castle would get wiped away by the waves, Mary Lou would get upset and remark how they should build a castle in a desert rather then on the beach.
Boyce Gulley set out to do just that. He purchased a plot of land and began building a castle. The castle was built from everyday junk items and even a few parts from his redundant car. Gulley was afraid though that he would run out of time.
Luckily for him, death came 15 years later not from tuberculosis but from cancer. He had accomplished his life’s mission just before he passed.
Mary Lou, a fine young woman of 18 received a letter stating her father’s death and a castle he had built for her himself.
Mary Lou and her mother immediately packed their bags and permanently shifted to the Mystery Castle.
The castle was extremely crude and was built with no real plan. Despite this Mary Lou had got her castle and also knew that she wasn’t abandoned for the lack of love but for the undying supply of it.
Mary Lou lived in that castle and opened it up for tourists. She passed away in Mystery Castle 8 years ago.
Taj Mahal, India
It comes as no surprise that Taj Mahal made the cut for this list. It is of course the most famous symbol of love. Shah Jahan built this mausoleum for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal. She died while giving birth to their 14th child.
Taj Mahal was built by the most skilled architects. It took them 22 years to built this breathtaking site. Shah Jahan never lived to see his dream but is interred there right next to his wife.
What most people don’t know about the Taj Mahal is that Shah Jahan sparred no expense for it, and quiet literally at that. In order to feed the extra labour and animals used in the construction, he diverted most of the food supply to Agra, creating an artificial famine in his empire.
The true beauty of the Taj Mahal can only be seen by the eyes, not a single camera in this world can capture its magnificence. As Rabindranath Tagore rightly described it, the Taj Mahal is indeed a ‘Teardrop on the Cheek of Time.’
Blacksmiths Shop, Gretna Green- Scotland
If you ever glance in the pages of an old Romance novel, you’ll catch the words Gretna Green. Gretna Green is not the name of a girl but a village on the Scottish and English border. A place where numerous couples would elope to get married.
Gretna Green has seen scores and scores of lovers trying to start a life together and this legacy continues till date.
In 1754, the new Prime Minister Lord Hardwicke passed a new Marriage Act which made it compulsory for everyone under 21 to seek their parents or guardians approval for marriage. Scotland however evaded this Act and stuck to the old custom of marriage. All couples had to do was promise that they were of marriageable age and that they were free to marry.
On the highway connecting London to the rest of Scotland sat Gretna Green, the first village you would encounter after entering into Scotland.
All those couples whose parents or guardians wouldn’t approve of their match would thus elope to Gretna Green. The blacksmith’s workshop located at the entrance of the village was the prime spot.
Scottish law also allowed blacksmiths to preside over weddings. The blacksmiths would halt their work, get properly dressed and marry the couples for a few guineas.
Soon the blacksmiths got bored of all the changing and married couples off while working in a unique way. They came to be called ‘Anvil priests.’ The blacksmith would ask the couple a few questions about them being of a proper age and free to marry. He would then strike his anvil and pronounce them Man and wife.
This was symbolic in a way that as the blacksmith’s work was to forge metals together, and just like that he would also join two people together.
Gretna Green is still a prime destination for weddings. About 5,000 weddings take place each year. However most of these weddings aren’t as scandalous as they used to be. There is no one in pursuit of the couple trying to halt them from being marred. Most modern couples are just looking for a bit of fun at their wedding!
This week I have a question for you- Would you tie the knot in Gretna Green? I am curious for your answers:)
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