Ever wonder about the seven wonders?
DO YOU know the Seven Wonders of the World?
If you just said `Aha!' very confidently and stopped counting after the first three or four and were confused, join the club.
Trying to recall school textbooks, or looking up the net? Hmmmm... imagine the kind of confusion school kids go through when their teacher asks them such a question in class, or worse still, ask for a project to be done.
So who has the right answers? What are the right answers? Are there right answers to this quiz? Is that ode to romance, the Taj Mahal, on the list or is it only a patriotic Indian's wishful thinking?
That's a whole string of questions with a big question mark trapping them all.
It is usually understood that the seven wonders refer to the architectural wonders of the ancient world - Pyramids of Egypt, Pharos (lighthouse) of Alexandria, Hanging Gardens of Babylon,
The Temple of Artemis, Statue of Zeus, Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, and the Colossus of Rhodes. Says Bangalore-based quizmaster Avinash Mudaliar, "I would definitely accept only the seven ancient wonders as the right answer to the question in a quiz." Most encyclopaedias too stick to the seven ancient wonders.
But in this string, only the Pyramids of Egypt survive. And many of us can't for the life of us pronounce most of the other wonders, leave alone young schoolchildren!
Make your list
As time ripened, and the standards of architecture and aesthetics kept changing, people kept adding and deleting from the list, monuments like the Great Wall of China, The Taj Mahal of Agra, the Statue of Liberty, The Leaning Tower of Pisa, the Eiffel Tower, the Angkor Wat temple in Cambodia, the Petronas Towers of Kuala Lampur, and other such wonders. The natural wonders have included beauties like the Grand Canyon, Mt Everest, the Great Barrier Reef, the Fjordlands, the Niagara Falls, and many more.
But none have stood constant. And no single list has ever won unanimous approval among historians, artists, architects and other decision makers.
As with all things of beauty, the decision lies in the eyes of the beholder. It also helps a country's tourism industry to have a "wonder" on the circuit and a space on the world map.
Moreover, the choice of wonders is now mindboggling. You can choose from a list of seven modern wonders of the world, medieval wonders, forgotten wonders, the natural wonders, architectural wonders and other newfound lists.
Or you can simply make your own list.
New seven on the block
So how about compiling a new agreeable list? That's something Swiss adventurer Bernard Weber is attempting, through his `The New 7 Wonders Foundation' where the "global society comes together to choose the New 7" on the internet through a voting system.
Have you been one of those on the mailing list of a friend who's sending imploring chain e-mails asking you to visit the site and put the Taj Mahal on the world map of wonders?
Which will be the chosen one?
When we last checked out their website (http://cms.n7w.com) the top nominations of the week - Indians hold your breath - were the Madurai Meenakshi Temple, the Taj Mahal at Agra and the Golden Temple of Amritsar - in that order! Ahem! Looks like we Indians have a lot of pride.
Either that or we have too much time to be spending on the internet!
Other current nominations on the site include: the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Spain, the Alhambra Granada in Spain, the Potala Palace in Tibet, the Great Wall of China, the ancient city of Machu Picchu in Peru (Mexico), the Hagia Sophia in Turkey, the Colosseum at Rome in Italy, the pyramids in Mexico, Timbaktu in Mali, Stonehenge in the UK, Moscow's Red Square, and yes, Mahabalipuram in Tamil Nadu and the Bahubali Gomateshwara Statue in Karnataka, India! An expert N7W panel is being assembled to assist in the shortlisting of nominees.
The panel will choose just 21 candidates to go forward to the final stages of the competition. And finally on January 1, 2007, the new list is scheduled to be announced.
But, like the BBC online poll for the world's most famous songs turned up an obscure Tamil number, how reliable can a net poll be? Who's voting? Who's really going to decide what we can all wonder about?
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