Walking for a few miles on the cobbled streets of Durham, a city in Northeast England, was a splendid experience. Overwhelmed and mesmerised with the magic of ancient Gothic architecture, blooming spring colours, serene waters and chirping birds, the confused wanderer in me asked, “Shall I focus on Google maps and head towards the university for which I have come so far or get off the track and like Alice in Wonderland, explore the colourful, narrow lanes that I’ve read about only in fairy-tales?” My practical mind advised me to create a balance and enjoy the picturesque while following the route map to university.
The stroke of unexpected luck brought me to the heart of the town, to witness the majestic Durham Cathedral surrounded by the Wear river that looped by fresh green natural landscape. This 218-ft high church is testimony to the fine architecture of the medieval times. The cathedral is a shrine of St Cuthbert. Being home to the relics of many accomplished saints and having a glorious past and built in the beautiful Romanesque style architecture, the cathedral has been designated a Unesco World Heritage Site.
Engrossed in the musings of intricate carvings, painted glasses, minutely crafted walls, symmetrical arches and the ceiling beyond my comprehension, I was treated to the melodious choir singing as well. This symphony was indeed the love from Jesus and his holy angels as if they were welcoming me to their abode. At every step, I was living my fairy-tale moments but the best was yet to come.
When I thought that I was taking an exit door, I actually entered another corridor and was awestruck by the square passage surrounded by well-pointed symmetrical arches with a central lawn and a fountain. The summer green lawn was getting soothing sunlight from the towers of the cathedral and it was reflecting back different shades of green.
As I couldn’t stop smiling, I wondered if I had seen this place somewhere or was having a deja vu moment. Suddenly, I heard someone scream, “The Harry Potter corridor!” No wonder, JK Rowling’s imagination deserved to be cinematised in a location like this and that’s exactly what Warner Bros did. This cathedral, which is the seat of the fourth-ranked Bishop in the Church of England hierarchy and a famous pilgrimage site, is popular among film makers, too.
Fairy-tales, magic stories and fantasies are dear to humans. They have not only made our childhood exciting but also helped us understand the world and its difficult realities in a joyful manner. Along with instilling imaginative skills, the fairy-tale genre provides ways for children to learn important lessons of life. Though some themes in fairy-tales may be unrealistic, the overall effect is positive.
While enjoying every inch of the minute and flawless craftsmanship in the Harry Potter corridor, I was thinking how important it is to have fairy-tales in every culture. Getting the chance to live those fairy-tale moments (like the one I got) is the cherry on the cake!
The writer is a freelance contributor