Marcdf via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Marcdf via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

China’s Hidden Cave Temple Will Soon Be Open to the Public

Marcdf via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Marcdf via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Only one of the seven wonders of the ancient world remains intact today, but that doesn't mean there aren't other wonders left to admire. The Royal Cave Temple, part of the renowned Longmen Grottoes in Henan Province, China, is a good example. And on March 10, The Daily Mail reportsfor the first time in decades, the cave will be opened to the public.

The Longmen Grottoes are a testament to human creativity and dedication. Over a thousand years ago, artists carved more than 2300 caves and niches into a stretch of limestone less than a mile long. Tucked and carved into these grottoes are nearly 110,000 Buddhist statues, representing 150 years of religious and artistic history. For all their exposure to the elements and human traffic, the grottoes and their inhabitants remain remarkably well-preserved—with the possible exception of the long-hidden Royal Cave Temple, also known as the Kan Jing temple.

Image Credit: kevinmcgill via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Image Credit: Kwz via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

Legends of the hidden temple tell of a cave decked out with rare artifacts that span several dynasties. At 30 feet high, 33 feet deep, and 34 feet wide, the Kan Jing Temple occupies the largest grotto on the mountain. Historians believe the cave was first carved out during the Tang Dynasty (618 to 907 CE) as an imperial shrine for Empress Wu Zetian and, later, her grandson, the Emperor Li Longji. The temple, like so many other national treasures, was destroyed amid the chaos of the Chinese cultural revolution in the 1960s and '70s. Archaeologists have been working to restore the cave and its treasures since, including replacing the temple’s primary statue.

Image Credit: DominikTefert via Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Image Credit: Severin Stalder via Wikimedia Commons // CC BY-SA 3.0

[h/t The Daily Mail]

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The Best (and Worst) States for Summer Road Trips
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As we shared recently, the great American road trip is making a comeback, but some parts of the country are more suitable for hitting the open road than others. If you're interested in taking a road trip this summer but are stuck on figuring out the destination, WalletHub has got you covered: The financial advisory website analyzed factors like road conditions, gas prices, and concentration of activities to give you this map of the best states to explore by car.

Wyoming—home to the iconic road trip destination Yellowstone National Park—ranked No. 1 overall with a total score of 58.75 out of 100. It's followed by North Carolina in the No. 2 slot, Minnesota at No. 3, and Texas at No. 4. Coming in the last four slots are the three smallest states in America—Rhode Island, Delaware, and Connecticut—and Hawaii, a state that's obviously difficult to reach by car.

But you shouldn't only look at the overall score if you're planning a road trip route: Some states that did poorly in one category excelled in others. California for example, came in 12th place overall, and ranked first when it came to activities and 41st in cost. So if you have an unlimited budget and want to fit as many fun stops into your vacation as possible, taking a trip up the West Coast may be the way to go. On the other end of the spectrum, Mississippi is a good place to travel if you're conscious of spending, ranking second in costs, but leaves a lot to be desired in terms of the quality of your trip, coming in 38th place for safety and 44th for activities.

Choosing the stops for your summer road trip is just the first step of the planning process. Once you have that covered, don't forget to pack these essentials.

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Netherlands Officials Want to Pay Residents to Bike to Work
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Thinking about relocating to the Netherlands? You might also want to bring a bike. Government officials are looking to compensate residents for helping solve their traffic congestion problem and they want businesses to pay residents to bike to work, as The Independent reports.

Owing to automobile logjams on roadways that keep drivers stuck in their cars and cost the economy billions of euros annually, Dutch deputy infrastructure minister Stientje van Veldhoven recently told media that she's endorsing a program that would pay employees 19 cents for every kilometer (0.6 miles) they bike to work.

That doesn't sound like very much, but perhaps citizens who need to trek several miles each way would appreciate the cumulative boost in their weekly paychecks. For employers, the benefit would be a healthier workforce that might take fewer sick days and reduce parking needs.

Veldhoven says she also plans on designing a program that would assist employers in supplying workers with bicycles. The goal is to have 200,000 people opting for manual transportation over cars. If the program proceeds, it might find a receptive population. The Netherlands is already home to 22.5 million bikes, more than the 17.1 million people living there. In Amsterdam, a quarter of residents bike to work.

There's no timeline for implementing the pay-to-bike plan, but early trial studies indicate that the expense might not have to be a long-term prospect. Study subjects continued to bike to work even after the financial rewards stopped.

[h/t The Independent]

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