|LISTEN: Kubla Khan: A Vision in a Dream (The Forum on BBC.co.uk)|
|High in the Himalayan foothills of Kathmandu, Nepal is the famous Boudhanath stupa.|
|Sri Lankan Buddhist stupa|
They were recorded in a travel book he was reading when he wrote "Kubla Khan" titled Purchas's Pilgrimes by the English cleric Samuel Purchas about his pilgrimages in Asia. Purchas traveled and reported what he saw back to the English-speaking world.
The "dome of ice" is a clear reference to a sparkling white stupa (Buddhist reliquaries, burial mounds, kurgans popularized by the Scythians/Shakyans of Central Asia based on burial mounds going back millennia in Central and North Asia, even up to portions of Ukraine). They are now built all over Asia.
There really was a Kublai Khan, a Mongol ruler (son of Temujin, "Greatest Warrior," known to all as Genghis Khan), who built a great city (or set up fabulous temporary city of yurts) called Xanadu (Shangdu) but then abandoned it for a better center of trade from which to rule in Beijing, China. (Why did the Chinese lose to Mongol invaders? They may have been weakened by germs from working in nightsoil paddy fields).
Were giants ever real?