Chetro Ketl

Chetro Ketl

CHETRO KETL is an Ancestral Great House and an archaeological site located in CHACO Culture National Historical Park, New Mexico.

The true origin and meaning of CHETRO KETL is unknown.  Although most of the names given to CHACOAN Ruins are either Spanish or Navajo, CHETRO KETL is neither.  A Mexican who worked for the first American expedition in 1849, translated it as RAIN TOWN.  In 1889, Navajo historian Washington Mathews reported that in Navajo Mythology, the building is referred to as KINTYEL or KINTYELI, which means BROAD HOUSE.  Other Navajo translations include HOUSE IN THE CORNER & SHINING HOUSE.
Construction on CHETRO KETL began in c.990 and was largely completed by 1075.  Following the onset of a severe drought, most Chacoans emigrated from the canyon by 1140.  By 1250, CHETRI KETL’S last inhabitants had vacated the structure.  The Great House was re-discovered, in 1823, by the Spanish Governor of New Mexico and explored in 1849 by the US Army Corps of Engineers.  Scholars estimate that it required more than 500,000 man-hours, 26,000 trees and 50million sandstone blocks to erect CHETRI KETL.

Chaco Canyon

The building contained around 400 rooms and was the largest Great House, by area, in CHACO CANYON, covering nearly 3acres.  The Great House is a D-shaped structure —— its east wall is 280ft long and the north wall is more than 450ft.  The perimeter is 1,540ft and the diameter of the great KIVA (round room) is 62.5ft.  CHETRI KETL lies 0.64km from Pueblo Bonito, in an area that archaeologists call downtown CHACO, they theorize that the area may be an ancestral “sacred zone”.

CHETRI KETL contains architectural elements, such as a colonnade and Tower Kiva, that appear to reflect MESO-AMERICAN influence.  It may have been occupied primarily by groups of priests and, during times of ritual, pilgrims from outlying communities.  Archaeologist Stephen H. Lekson believes CHETRI KETL was a Palace inhabited by CHACOAN Royalty, and the scale of its construction was motivated by, what architects call, MASSING (building imposing structures with the intent to impress onlookers).


CHETRI KETL is located opposite a large opening in the Canyon known as SOUTH GAP, which helped maximize the building’s exposure to the sun, while increasing visibility and access to the south.  Its rear wall runs parallel to the Canyon, at less than 100ft from the cliffs, its proximity allowed the inhabitants to benefit from passive solar energy emanating from the rocks.  CHETRI KETL is not perfectly aligned to the cardinal directions, but its nominal southerly orientation further enhanced solar exposure to its “tiered rooms”.  By 1085, the CHACOANS had constructed Great Houses at CHETRI KETL, Pueblo Alto & Pueblo del Arroyo, during what is described as “a time of extraordinary growth and outreach”.

The most commonly harvested tree species was PONDEROSA PINE, and approximately 16,000 trees were felled for use at CHETRI KETL, and now the species is now absent from the Canyon.  Archaeologists believe that the trees were processed where they were cut, then carried back to Chaco Canyon.
CHETRI KETL’S walls were constructed using three “bulk materials” : stone, clay-sand and water.  Two types of stone were used ——– a hard grey-brown tabular sandstone that forms the bench above Chaco Canyon’s cliffs, and a softer, tan, massively-bedded sandstone that forms the cliffs themselves.  The people preferred the harder tabular stone, as it was easier to shape, but much of it had to be dug up and levered out of the ground with wooden poles.  Then, clay or clay-sand and water was used  to make mortar and the clay-sand was accessed by digging large pits, then mixing mortar in the pits and carrying the mix to the construction site in baskets.  Water is scarce in Chaco Canyon and construction probably took place during the late summer and early fall rainy season, when it was more readily available.  Water was also collected from small reservoirs in the slick rock and deep wells in the bed of Chaco Wash.

Chaco Canyon

CHETRI KETL is described as “notoriously sterile”, while several major artefacts, including baskets, sandals, painted wood fragments, digging sticks, arrowheads, and crushed pots were found there, the whereabouts of most of these items is “one of the great archaeological mysteries of the Southwest”.  The Museum of New Mexico holds several items excavated from CHETRI KATL, including pieces of turquoise, a black-on-white pottery canteen and a 14-ft long stone-and-shell necklace.

This & That…

arrogance painting

(1) We hurt without moving

And poison without touching
We bear truth and lies
But are not judged by size. ——- What are we ?
(2) Do you know : ORANGE CARROTS apparently did not come about till the 17th century, when, as the story goes, Dutch horticulturists developed the strain to honour William of Orange.  Before that carrots, indigenous to Afghanistan, were purple in colour, also red and yellow.  The orange carrot apparently (and quite naturally) became a trendy, pretty food and sweeter too.
(3) In Greece HALWA is called 1:2:3:4, because of the proportion of the ingredients to be added to the porridge-like confection. (fat:semolina:sugar:water)
(4) How does a mouse get out of a room ? It “clicks” an “icon” & “opens” a “window”.
(5) Bureaucracy defends the “status quo” long past the time when the “quo” has lost its “status”.
(6) Did you hear about the suicidal homeopath ?  He took 1/50th of the recommended dose.
(7) Hale Makua, Hawaiian Elder and Teacher used to say, ” We must RE-MEMBER.  We must connect, bring together, bring to life.  Again and again and again.
(8) Arrogance leads to ignorance, because it colours our perception.
confucius(9) Be silent on services you have rendered, but speak of favours you have received.
(10) A relationship needs not just love, but also respect, happiness, freedom, friendship an equality between the partners.
(11) Thinkers think and doers do.  But until the thinkers do and doers think, progress will be just another word in the already overburdened vocabulary of the talkers who talk.
(12) What did the fish say when he ran into a wall ?  DAM.
(13) The purpose of art is washing the dust of daily life off our souls.—– Picasso.
(14) Be thou the rainbow in the storms of life, the evening beam that smiles the clouds away and tints tomorrow with prophetic ray. —– Lord Byron.
(15) Hold your friends close and your enemies on limited profile.
(16) If you are well-disposed towards those whose views are similar to yours, you may be said to exhibit “good character”.  But, is you behave well with those holding divergent views from you, then you have an “excellent character”. —– Maulan Wahiduddin Khan.
(17)  What do you get when you cross a weeping willow with an UFO ?  A CRYING SAUCER.
(18) At a dinner party one should “eat wisely”, but not “too well”, and “talk well” but not “too wisely”.  ————Somerset Maugham.
Picasso self(19)  Any issue in India is complete only after : A twitter trend. An Arnav rant.  A Sakshi Maharaja quote.  A Chetan Bhagat solution.
(20)  Did you know :  All four sons of biologist Angus M. Woodbury earned PhDs in biology and both his daughters married biologists ?
  (21) By three methods we may learn wisdom : By “reflection” which is the “noblest”.  By “imitation” which is the “easiest”.  By “experience” which is the “bitterest”.  —— Confucius.
(22) Why can’t you tell a joke while standing on ice ?  Because it might crack up.
(23) If you reveal your secrets to the wind, you should not blame the wind for revealing them to the trees. —– Khalil Gibran.
(24) The word UNFRIEND apparently appeared in print way back in 1659, when English was still not affected by the language spoken by today’s internet generation.
  (25) The only way to avoid criticism is to say nothing, do nothing and be nothing. ——– Aristotle.
(26) What do you call Santa’s mistakes ?  SANTA FLAWS.
(27) In the book “The Columbus Affair” by Steve Berry, Simon Zachariah has the “look” of a “scholar”, the “soul” of a “scoundrel” and the “zeal” of a “fanatic”.
(28) Swallow your pride occasionally.  IT IS NON-FATTENING.
(29) Hermann Ebbinghaus, a German psychologist, who pioneered the study of memory, said, ” Mental events are not passive happenings, but the acts of a subject”.
(30) Trust Him when darkest thoughts assail thee
Trust Him when thy faith is small
Trust Him when to simply trust Him
Is the hardest thing of all.
Rosalind Russell. 

Pulau Ubin

Pulau Ubin panorama view

PULAU UBIN also called UBIN ISLAND, is a small island (10.19 sq.kms) situated in the northeast of Singapore, to the west of PULAU TEKONG.  The name  PULAU UBIN literally means GRANITE ISLAND in Malay, which explains the many abandoned granite quarries there.  To the Malays, the island is also known as PULAU BATUUBIN or GRANITE STONE ISLAND.

Pulau Ubin Singapore

The rocks on the island were used to make floor tiles in the past and were called JUBIN, which was then shortened to UBIN.  The island is known as TSIOH SUA in the Taiwanese Romanization of HOKKIEN, which means STONE HILL.  The highest point is at 74metres and known as PUAKA HILL.

Pulau Ubin scenery

Granite quarrying supported a few 1000 settlers on PULAU UBIN in the 1960s, but only about a 100 villagers live there today.  It is one of the last rural areas to be found in Singapore, with an abundance of natural flora and fauna.  The island forms part of the UBIN-KHATIB Important Bird Area (IBA), identified as such by Bird Life International, because it supports significant numbers of visitors and residential birds, some of which are ‘threatened’.

Pulau Ubin gate

Legend has it that PULAU UBIN was formed when three animals from Singapore ( a frog, a pig and an elephant) challenged each other to a race to share the shores of JOHOR.  The animals that failed would turn to stone.  All three came across many difficulties and were unable to reach the shores of JOHOR.  Therefore, the elephant and the pig together turned into PULAU UBIN, whilst the frog became PULAU SEKUDU or FROG ISLAND.

Pulau Ubin

PULAU UBIN first appeared on the map in an 1828 sketch of the Island of Singapore as PULO UBIN and in Franklin and Jackson’s map as PO.UBIN.  Since the British founding of Singapore, the island has been known for its granite quarries, on the island, supply the local construction industry.  The granite ‘outcrops’ are particularly spectacular from the sea, because their ‘grooves’ and ‘fluted sides’ create ‘furrows’ & ‘ridges’ on each granite rock slab.  These features are captured in John Turnbull Thomson’s 1850 painting —— GROOVED STONES on PULO UBIN near Singapore.

The granite from PULAU UBIN was used in the construction of HORSBURGH LIGHTHOUSE.  TONGKANGS ferried the huge rock blocks ( 30 by 20ft) from the Island of PEDRA BRANCA, the site of the Lighthouse, in 1850 & 1851.  Later, the granite was also used to build the Singapore-Johor Causeway.  Most of the quarries are not in operation today and are being slowly recolonized by vegetation or filled with water.  Apart from quarrying, farming and fishing were the principal occupations of the inhabitants of the island in the past.  In the 1970s, as the granite quarries closed down and jobs dwindled, residents began leaving.

Pulau Ubin biking

PULAU UBIN is one of the last areas in Singapore, that has been preserved from urban development, concrete buildings and tarmac roads.  PULAU UBIN’S wooden house villages and wooden jetties, relaxed inhabitants, rich and preserved wildlife, abandoned quarries and plantations and untouched nature make it the last witness of the old KAMPONG Singapore that existed before modern industrial times and large-scale urban development.

The Singapore Government’s development projects on the island, in the last few years, has been controversial and debate has been able to find its way through government-controlled media.  Their main idea is that the East-West Line could be extended to PULAU UBIN from PASIR RIS.  Although the government has highlighted the area for future development, the island is unlikely to be urbanised, because many foreign tourists visit PALAU UBIN and it has become a tourist attraction.
Though recent government action has been limited to widening the paths for bicycles, building shelters for trekkers and other facilities for the growing number of visitors, it is already discreetly changing the face and nature of PALAU UBIN from “untouched” to “planned”, and paving the way for further developments.
In 2007, the Singapore Government decided to reuse the Granite Quarry in PALAU UBIN, because Indonesia might restrict export of granite to Singapore.  The future of the island is in the hands of the government, which may postpone its development in order to concentrate on re-developing existing space on Singapore Island and nearby PULAO TEKONG.  For now, PULAU UBIN is a haven as a former rural way of life and will most likely disappear with its last KAMPUNG Generation.

Ketam biking park Pulau Ubin

There are a few tarmac roads, but most roads are gravel.  There are a number of minibuses, jeeps and motorbikes, all bearing PU (for PULAU UBIN) numbered plates.  Schools visit PULAU UBIN for overnight school trips.  Although the locals try to keep the island un-urbanized, they need some small boosts of money to support them.

One of the popular tourist attractions on the island is CHEK JAWA.  A previous coral reef 5,000years ago, it can be said to be virtually unspoilt, with a variety of marine wildlife, such as sand dollars, cuttlefish, sea squirts, octopuses, sponges, sea hares and starfishes.  A boardwalk runs through the mangrove, allowing visitors to observe the plant and marine life at close range.  During low tide, a limited number of people are allowed to walk on the tidal flats.

Pulau Ubin resort

PULAU UBIN is home to one of the best mountain-bike trails ——- KETAM MOUNTAIN BIKE PARK, which was built in 2007.  The trail is approximately 8km long and features a wide range of terrain ranging from open meadows to thick jungle.  There are numerous steep but short climbs and descents.  The trail is well-marked with signs indicating the difficulty level of each section..  Rental bikes can be used, but most bikers bring their own bikes.  By cruising around the island, one can stop by beautiful lakes and other natural spots.  It is a great break away from the big and busy city of Singapore.

 This is truly a SECRET OASIS and the RUSTIC SIDE of Singapore.

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Great truths

Toys and trinkets are ‘easily won’, but the greatest things are ‘greatly bought’.  The top-most place of power is always bought with blood.  You may have the pinnacles, if you have enough blood to pay.  That is the conquest condition of the heights everywhere.  The  chief values in life and character are not blown across our way by vagrant winds.  Great souls have great sorrows.

truth road

Great Truths are dearly bought, the common truths,
Such as men give and take from day to day
Come in the common walk of easy life
Blown by the careless wind across our way.
Great truths are greatly won, not found by chance,
Nor wafted on the breath of summer dream,
But grasped in the great struggle of the soul,
Hard buffeting with adverse wind and stream.
But in the day of conflict, fear and grief
When the strong hand of God, put forth in might,
Rakes up the subsoil of the stagnant heart,
And brings the imprisoned truth seed to the light.
Wrung from the troubled spirit, in hard hours
Of weakness, solitude, perchance of pain,
Truth springs like harvest from the well-raked field,
And the soul feels it has not wept in vain.
The capacity for knowing God enlarges, as we are brought by Him into circumstances which oblige us to exercise faith ; so, when difficulties beset our path let us thank God that He is taking trouble with us, and LEAN HARD UPON HIM.
“On all bare heights shall be their pasture” (Isa. 49:9, R. V.)  

Chitragupta Jayanti

CHITRAGUPTA JAYANTI is celebrated today (13th November).
Human beings act inherently to lead their life from the moment of their birth till death and receive rewards and punishments according to the law of KARMA.  Vedic Scriptures say that each soul, after the death of an individual, leaves the body with Chitragupta Bhagwancertain karmic account of virtues and sins earned by the person during his lifetime.  The balance sheet of the karmic account determines the nature of the body, quality of life, happiness and sorrow that will accrue to an individual in the new life.
It is believed that the deity CHITRAGUPTA is hidden in the CHITTA or mind of human beings as an accountant of God, to maintain complete records of their pious or sinful acts on earth.  It is believed that BRAHMA assigned to Chitragupta, the gigantic task of deciding the dues to be granted to an individual on his death according to his positive or is negative balance sheet of the karmic account.
According to legend, BRAHMA enjoined YAMA, the god of death to keep records of virtues and sins of all sentient beings.  Yama requested Brahma to provide him an accountant to assist him in discharging the enormous responsibility of keeping records of deeds of all beings and deliver justice to them.
Brahma went into deep meditation for 11,000 years.  Finally when he opened his eyes, he saw a resplendent man in front of him, bearing a pen and inkpot in his hands and a sword girdled to his waist.  He said, “Thou hast been created from my KAYA or body, therefore shall thy progeny be known as KAYASTHAS.  Thou has been conceived in my CHITTA in GUPTA or secrecy, thy name shall e CHITRAGUPTA.
Chitragupta paintingBHAVISHYA PURANA states that Brahma fixed the residence of Chitragupta in the region of God for the purpose of discerning and recording the merits and demerits of each karma of all life forms.  In GARUDA PURANA, Chitragupta is always present in the “conscience” of all sentient life-forms, keeping track of every deed, building up statistics of virtues and sins from birth to death, so that on their death, PRARABDHA, or destiny for the next life can be determined accordingly.
The worship of Chitragupta bestows prosperity and mitigates the evil effects of KETU during its transit period according to one’s horoscope.  CHITRAGUPTA JAYANTI, the birthday of Chitragupta, is celebrated on the second day of the rising moon period after DEEPAVALI in the month of Kartik.
Chitragupta ordained that the life should be fruitfully devoted for writing, education, patriotic, benevolent and charitable work with cultivation of values like piousness, patience, service and forgiveness.
————— Satish Kumar Mathur (Speaking Tree)

Coloane Village

COLOANE VILLAGE (Portuguese : VILA de COLOANE) is a village in Macau, China.  It stands as a living testament to Macau’s dual Portuguese & Cantonese heritage. 
The quality of the air in COLOANE is relatively fresh compared to that of Macau Peninsula, because there are fewer residents and less urban development.  Nowadays, COLOANE is a good place for beach lovers, hikers and golfers.

Coloane village

COLOANE is historically a fishing village and port for trade with the neighbouring islands along the coast off Guangdong Province.  Before the fall of the Qing Dynasty (i.e. 1912), pirates were a great problem in COLOANE and posed a serious threat to local fishermen and traders.  In front of the little Chapel, dedicated to Saint Francis Xavier, is a monument commemorating a successful Portuguese action against Chinese pirates in 1910.


The Village centres on Eduardo Marques Square, which is a rectangle paved with cobblestones that are black, white and yellow, laid out in a wavy pattern reminiscent of the sea.  The Square faces a seaside promenade that traces the channel dividing Macau from the hills of China proper.

At the opposite end of the Square stands the Chapel of Saint Francis Xavier, built in 1928. The Chapel contains some of the most sacred Christian relics in Asia, including the remains of twenty-six foreign and Japanese Catholic priests who were crucified in 1597, as well as those of some of the Japanese Christians who were killed during the SHIMABARA Rebellion in 1637.  The Chapel also housed a bone from the arm of Saint Francis Xavier, who died in 1552 on SANCHUAN Island, 50miles from Macau, before the relic was transferred to Saint Joseph’s Seminary and the Sacred Art Museum.

Coloane Macau

Along the AVENIDA de CINCO de OUTUBRO is the TAM KUNG Temple, which is a Taoist Temple dedicated to the seafarers’ God ——- TAM KUNG. A modern deep-water port is next to KA HO, a village with a typical countryside lifestyle.

TAM KUNG TEMPLE : Built in the 1st year of the TONGZHI Reign of the late Qing Dynasty (1862), it is one of the comparatively large Temple of COLOANE.  It is written in the couplet on the door of the Temple of TAM KUNG “The stone JIAO and the Spirit of bell correspond to Billing and returning waves and beautiful island are similar to PENGLAI”.


In the Temple, there is a Tablet set up in 1964 by the Duty Committee of the Street Charity Committee of COLOANE, which mentions the origin of the Temple.  The Temple is only dedicated to TAM KUNG.  It is said that TAM KUNG originated from the God of the Mount of Nine Dragons of HUIZHOU and often changed into a child to help the poor.  It is also said that Tam Kung  is Taoist.  The day of celebration of the Temple of Tam Kung is the 8th of April of the Lunar Year.  In recent years, the performance of sacred battle is played to commemorate the anniversary of Tam Kung.


The Church of OUR LADY OF SORROWS (Latin : BEATA MARIA VIRGO PERDOLENS).  The Seven Sorrows of Mary is a popular Roman Catholic Devotion.  The Seven Sorrows are events in the life of the Blessed Virgin Mary.  It is a common devotion for Catholics to say daily one Our Father and seven Hail Mary for each : (1) The Prophecy of Simon.  (2) The Flight into Egypt.  (3) The Loss of the Child Jesus in the Temple.  (4) Mary meets Jesus on the road to Calvary.  (5) Jesus dies on the Cross.  (6) The Piercing of the side of Jesus.  (7) The Body of Jesus is placed in the tomb.

COLOANE, in Cantonese, was known as GAU OU SAAN (Nine-inlet Mountain), transcribed in Portuguese as YIM ZOU WAAN ( Salt-stove Bay).

Bent pyramid

Bent pyramid DAHSHUR

The BENT PYRAMID is an ancient Egyptian Pyramid located at the Royal necropolis of DAHSHUR, approximately 40km south of Cairo, built under the Old Kingdom Pharaoh SNEFERU (c. 2600 BC).  A unique example of early pyramid development in Egypt, this was the second pyramid built by SNEFERU.

The Pyramid rises from the desert at a 54 degree  inclination, but the top section is built at a shallower angle of 43 degrees.  Archaeologists now believe that the BENT PYRAMID represents a transition form between “step-sided” and “smooth-sided” pyramids.  It has been suggested that due to the steepness of the original angle of inclination, the structure may have begun to show signs of instability during construction, forcing the builders to adopt a shallower angle to avert the structure’s collapse.

Bend pyramid

This theory appears to be borne out by the fact that the adjacent RED PYRAMID, built immediately afterwards, by the same Pharaoh, was constructed at an angle of 43degrees from its base.  This fact also contradicts the theory that at the initial angle the construction would take too long because SNEFERU’S death was nearing, so the builders changed the angle to complete the construction in time.

In 1974, Kurt Mendelssohn suggested the change of the angle to have been made as a security precaution, in reaction to a catastrophic collapse of the MEIDUM Pyramid while it was still under construction.
It is also unique amongst the approximately 90 Pyramids to be found in Egypt, in that its original polished limestone outer casing remains largely intact.  British structural engineer Peter James attributes this to larger clearances between the parts of the casing than that used in later pyramids.  These imperfections would work as “expansion joints” and prevent the successive destruction of the outer casing by “thermal expansion”.

Entrance to bent pyramid

The ancient formal name  of the Bent Pyramid is generally translated as (The)-Southern-Shining-Pyramid or SNEFERU-(is)-Shining-in-the -South.  The Bent Pyramid has 2 entrances, one fairly low-down on the north side, to which a substantial wooden stairway has been built for the convenience of tourists (though so far the pyramid is not open to tourists, although plans have been proposed to open it).  The 2nd entrance is high on the west face of the pyramid.  Each entrance leads to a chamber with a high, CORBELLED roof, the northern entrance leads to a chamber that is below ground level, the western to a chamber built in the body of the pyramid itself.  A hole in the roof of the northern chamber, accessed today by a high and rickety ladder (50ft long), leads via a rough connecting passage from the western entrance.

Bent pyramid door

The western passage is blocked by 2 stone blocks, which were not lowered vertically, as in other pyramids, but slid down 45degree ramps to block the passage.  One of these was lowered in antiquity and a hole has been cut through it, the other remains propped up by a piece of ancient cedar wood.  The connecting passage, referenced above, enters the passage between the two PORTCULLISES.