Allahabad, Uttar Pradesh state, India —
Millennia ago, gods and demons battled over a pitcher that was said to be filled with the “nectar of immortality.” While they were fighting, four drops fell to the ground, sanctifying the cities of Allahabad, Haridwar, Ujjain and Nasik in northern India.
Today, millions pilgrims from around the world flock to these cities on the banks of the Ganges. Hindus, Buddhists and Jains bathe in the holy river to wash away their sins, a ceremony that is necessary to attain “moksha,” or liberation from the cycle of birth and death.
When the day comes to an end and the tourists and families slowly gather their picnic baskets and head home, the small stony Bonggil Beach in Gyeongju, North Gyeongsang Province, is almost deserted for a short period of time. Only occasionally, some people can be seen praying, bowing toward the open sea to a few rocks. These rocks, about 200 meters off the coast, form a narrow rocky hill. They house the underwater grave of King Munmu the Great.
The Underwater Tomb of King Munmu — Daewangam, Historic Site No. 158 — is, at first glance, an unremarkable formation of rocks.
Street Art in South Korea is certainly not a “revolution of signs” as the French philosopher Jean Baudrillard once characterized the cryptic lettering (tags, writing) at the beginning of the graffiti culture. But there is a small, lively and innovative cultural scene in Seoul.
Some of the murals are modern-time testimonies. They are, albeit with a quiet tone, political statements, pointed observations of recent social circumstances or expressions of an attitude to life.