Cutting ice in China

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Nobody until recently thought that China would be their future destination for snow festival.

Japan’s Sapporo Snow Festival, Canada’s Quebec City Winter Carnival and Norway’s Holmenkollen Ski Festival were the former hotspots.

 Forget everything past! People are now increasingly turning to Harbin Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.  The annual winter festival in Harbin, northeast China, is the largest ice and snow festival in the world.

Official opening falls annually on January 5 and lasts through the month.  The major attractions of the festival are the ice sculptures. You see them at every street corner.

However, the main exhibition area is Sun Island, on the other side of Songhua River. Another important locale is Snow World, where you can hang your cap. 

The entire festival ground is a mesmerizing sight of ice sculptures.  Huge structures and building carved out from blocks of thick ice nudge clouds. These ice blocks are culled out from Songhua River, when it freezes from the cold Siberian gusts.

The sprawling structures take you to a ride down to history. Some of them are facsimiles of ancients Chinese temples, and palaces. Aside from the size, the dexterity involved in the work is just amazing. Most of the structures have delicate and intricate carvings done using chisels, ice picks and tools. 

The 2007 festival saw the event entering Guinness Records for putting up the largest snow sculpture.

The traditional ice lantern show at Harbin started in 1963, which was briefly halted during the Cultural Revolution. The festival resumed on January 5, 1985.

Its international foray began when the International Ski Festival at Heilongjiang merged with Harbin Ice Festival, and then it took the name Harbin International Ice and Snow Sculpture Festival.

Look, china is marching ahead in every field.