Stonehenge (Wiltshire - England)

This memory is very vivid. When I was standing at the UK visa office in Chennai, with my Mr beside me, I spotted a flex banner of this place. I nudged my guy and said I wanna go there. And now, 2 days after Christmas, there I was! It is the UNESCO world heritage site, a mysterious structure which has puzzled scientists, archaeologists, and historians to a great extent all the time, an architecture far too advanced for the era in which it was built, a building whose utility is still a mystery - Stonehenge!!!  
To begin with, though we didn't have a white Christmas, it was still drizzling all day. We had booked the tickets online. The time taken from London was 3.5 hrs, so we set out at 7 AM and half way through we realized the train ticket of the 2nd train costs more than the annual membership to visit the place! Well, we had set out, so we continued!!! It takes 2 trains to reach Salisbury which the closest railway station to Stone Henge. 
The most accepted version of why it was built is that it served as a temple for Sun God (as its construction aligns with the solar movement) 4500 yrs ago. Its not a solo structure. Several circular structures are all around it in a random way (or may be their placement signifies something). These structures are more like circular bumps on the ground, covered with grass, built in 3500 BCE & 2200-1300 BCE. These served as burial grounds in the Neolithic Period and Bronze Age. The burials here also include some pottery, animal bones, tools etc which are now kept in the Museum there. A section there also looks like a very huge passage or a rectangular canal or a enclosure dug into the ground that's 1.7miles long.
The actual stone structure known well was built in 3000-2200BCE. This was built with 2 circular rows (horseshoe shaped) of huge, heavy, tall white rocks called Sarsens in Trilithons (2 verticals & 1 horizontal atop). Its something similar to dolmans but just huuuuge. These were built again with a great care for engineering so that the top bar doesn't fall down. The vertical bars have a little protrusion on the top and the horizontal bat have a small crevice in them that fit the protrusion perfectly. Now, they're interlocked and safe!
Then there are some smaller bluestones which were placed within the 2 bigger rows once and replaced between them in course of time. There are 56 pits around them called the Aubrey Holes today.
Opposite the entrance of the Stonehenge is a standing rock called Heel Stone and in front of it is an arrow shaped stone in front of heel stone. By mid-summer the first rays of sun of the day, falls on the heelstone. By mid-winter the last rays of the sun falls between the tallest trilithons, one of which is fallen now.
About 3km from the stonehenge, is the woodhenge. This is 6 concentric ovals of wooden posts. This is surrounded by a bank followed by a ditch. This might have been possibly where the people who built Stonehenge may have lived. 
At the visitors centre there's a replication of what might have been the houses of the pre-historic people who lived it. It was pretty much close to the Pol Houses of Dholavira. Also there was a manmade Sarsen stone as heavy as the one's at Stonehenge which a rope on one side so that we have a feel of how our own forefathers would have moved them, carried them and built with them! The museum here not only houses bones, pottery etc dug up from here but also vintage souvenirs, photographs, art that's decades old etc that are inspired by Stonehenge. There is a shop which sells souvenirs and a cafe at the visitor centre as well.
There are 2 more places close to Stonehenge which are must see - Old Sarum and Salisbury Cathedral. Coming back soon on that. Here's a tip. If you're at England for atleast a week or more with plans to visit forts, castles, pre-historic spots etc, I suggest go for a pass of English Heritage, either as a overseas visitor or annual member. The entry fee for Stone Henge is £14.50. Single adult annual pass is £50, while for 2 its £88. Single adult visitor pass for 9 days is £30. This pass gives free entrance to all sites under them.

TO GET THERE:
From London:
Nearest Tube Station - Waterloo or Clapham
Bus or Train to Salisbury Station - costs about £35 to & fro on the day of travel.
If booked much in advance the prices begin for £10 to & fro
Bus from Salisbury Station to Stone Henge Visitor centre (14km) - costs about £10 per head for 2-way ride (incl stop at Cathedral & Old Sarum)
Cars can go till this point. If you have access to car its the best mode of transport
Bus from Visitor centre to Stone Henge (2.5km) - Free

P.S: Check out here to know what I wore to the trip.

Dedicated to Venkat

Bhushavali N

An ardent traveler by passion. I am a wanderlust.. Read more about me here.

24 comments:

  1. Nice coverage of Stonehenge. Helpful post, Bhusha.

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  2. One of my bucket list is to visit the Stonehenge, I wish my dream will come true soonest.

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  3. I'm heading to the UK in March and I wonder if I'll be able to visit here myself. This is my year of travel and I can't wait to visit.

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  4. lovely. i wanted to travel to stonehenge. <3 it is full of wonders.

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  5. The Stonehenge is one of my dream places to visit ever since I was a kid. I would love to see it in person!

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  6. I first saw Stonehenge in Encyclopedia. Then, on Google images. And now, on your blog. Wow! I wish to see this place the soonest.

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  7. I have only seen the Stonehonge in pictures. To date, it remains a mystery on how it was formed. Size is gigantic! I envy my boyfriend who has been there two years ago.

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  8. Would you recommend that I should check this place out if Im in England for only two days?

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  9. This must have been super exciting for you. Like everyone else, this is definitely one of the sites that I intend to see in one of my future trips.

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  10. I recall reading about similar structures (menhirs) found in the Nilgiris also.The conjecture's they are burial grounds!

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  11. Stonehenge looks like such a magical place! I've always dreamed of visiting here since forever! :D

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  12. Stonehedge is such a mystical formation. It such a nice attraction to visit and learn more about its history.

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  13. Wow, I'm jealous!! It's a dream destination for me. Hopefully, I'll manage to visit the Stonehenge and Shakespeare's village now that I live closer. Nice photos and info!

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  14. Well composed the post with enough detail on the site!

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  15. I want to see this place for real. In photographs alone, they look mystical and magical. Thanks for the recommendations for the side trips from Stonehenge.

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  16. How I wish to see this magical place soon. The houses look cute too :) You take great photos that makes readers want to visit the place as well ^^

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  17. I want to visit this one too. Just wondering how easy (challenging) it would be for me to get my visa though. But I am definitely going there soon. haha

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  18. It must have been amazing standing before one of the great mysteries of human civilization. Stonehenge looks so simple, but packs so much intrigue you can't help be in awe.

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  19. I've always wanted to visit the Stonehenge. You are lucky to capture this without a crowd. It looks serene.

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  20. Stonehedge sounds very interesting ; It reminds me of stone circles or stone "Dances" that I have read about in Irish foklore

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  21. Historic spots like this really intrigues me. I'm glad that people are taking care of places like this. It would greatly benefit the youngsters and could get them educated. Keep on traveling! :)

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  22. I love the English weather, grey clouds and light rain, I know everyone complains about it, but I prefer it to a tropical climate. I think StoneHenge photographed brilliantly with the lush green and grey clouds above it too! I'm impressed you learn about which stone the sun shines on first and last (if it shines!). When I visited it started raining really heavy after I had seen the stones so I could not visit the pre historic houses. Another UNESCO site done and also a wonder of the medieval world!

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  23. Sounds like you had a great day despite the rain :) The Stonehenge has always been on my bucketlist. Such an informative post. Will bookmark this for the future! :)

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  24. Stonehenge is a must see when in England. The stone structure is very mysterious, and great that you included the tips on which station to visit from too. Never mind about the white Christmas!

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