The Millau Bridge is in southern France and crosses the River Tarn in the Massif Central mountains. It was designed by the British architect Norman Foster and French structural engineer Michel Virlogeux. At 300m (984 feet), it is the highest road bridge in the world, weighing 36,000 tonnes. The central pillar is higher than the famous French icon, the Eiffel Tower. The Bridge opened in December 2004 and is possibly one of the most breath-taking bridges ever built.
The bridge towers above the Tarn Valley and the aim of Lord Foster was to design a bridge with the ‘delicacy of a butterfly’. Lord Foster designed a bridge that enhances the natural beauty of the valley, with the environment dominating the scene rather than the bridge. The bridge appears to float on the clouds despite the fact that it has seven pillars and a roadway of 1½ miles in length. On first sight, the impression is of boats sailing on a sea of mist. The roadway threads through the seven pillars like thread through the eye of a needle..
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THIRUVANANTHAPURAM, INDIA – A stream of bare-chested religious devotees step gingerly through metal detectors at the Sree Padmanabhaswamy temple in southern India as armed commandos with AK-47’s guard perhaps one of the world’s greatest treasures to surface in recent times. For months now, following a court order to pry open subterranean vaults sealed for centuries at the heart of sleepy Thiruvananthapuram, the capital of balmy Kerala state, shell-shocked experts have been coming to terms with the vast hidden hoard, estimated at one trillion Indian rupees, or $22 billion. In a nation where 500 million people live in poverty, the find has been a revelation, stoking debate over how to best safeguard and use this newly discovered wealth at a time of financial uncertainty and modernization across India.
Put in a broader context, the wealthy temple in the lush, spice-growing but relatively undeveloped Kerala, where infrastructure is patchy and per capita income lags behind the richer northern Indian states, could salvage the rickety finances of the country, lift millions out of poverty and even help wipe out a quarter of India’s overall fiscal deficit.
The treasure, a long accumulation of religious offerings to the Hindu deity Vishnu, includes a four-foot high gold idol studded with emeralds, gold and silver ornaments and sacks of diamonds.
Local legend has held that vast riches had been interred in the walls and vaults of the temple by the Maharajahs of Travancore and their subjects over many years.
70 year old retired police officer TP Sundara Rajan went to the Supreme Court asking that the state take over control of the temple, saying the current temple trust were incapable of protecting the wealth inside. The court ordered an inspection of the temple vaults..
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