By Rajinder Pal Devgan
Hangzhou, 5 Oct: The visit to the Leifeng Pagoda, here, was a most memorable experience.
Leifeng Pagoda is five-storeyed with eight sides and was constructed in 975 AD. It collapsed in 1924 but was rebuilt in 2002.
The five layers represent earth, fire, water, air and wind. Legend has it that White Snake fell in love with a handsome young man, took the form of a white girl and married the young scholar. They had a son but, unfortunately, out of jealousy, a monk imprisoned the couple in the Pagoda. The son had to finally rescue them.
We visited the Pagoda on a Chinese national holiday. The place was teeming with people.The old Pagoda lies in ruins, just piles of bricks. All around the wall of the new Pagoda is the story of the White Snake carved in wood. The carvings are incredible, exhibiting unbelievable skill. It must have taken months and months to carve the entire story. It reminded me of the Ramayana carved in the rocks in Bali.
We were taken to the top in a lift. The view from there of the West Side is breathtaking. This was the waterway used in the old days for trade.
On to Athletics. The last day of the Athletics Events, save the Marathon, was a day to cherish for Team India. The inevitable Gold Medal in Javelin, which seems to have become Neeraj Chopra’s personal property, was won with ease. Then came the Gold in 5000 metres, Men, and the icing on the cake, the 400 into 400 metres relay for Men Gold. That brought down the curtain on a very successful Athletics Meet for Team India.
I was delighted to see the young and petite Harmilan win her second Silver Medal in the 800 metres for Women. She had, a couple of days earlier, won a Silver medal in 1500 metres.
I had met her on the flight to Hangzhou from Delhi and she had introduced herself as a middle distance runner. Meeting her one would have never thought that she would make the nation proud by winning not one but two Asian Games Silver Medals. She, I am sure, has a long and a successful career ahead of her and will keep doing her country proud.
I am looking forward to Saurabh Ghosal winning the Gold Medal in individual Squash and our very own Harinder Singh from YPS Mohali win a Gold in the Mixed Event.
It has been a great week, couldn’t have asked for more.
(RP Devgan is an Educator and Sportsman.)