A Travellerspoint blog

JAN 30 ANURADHAPURA

Ancient Civilization

overcast 33 °C

ANURADHAPURA
We rent bikes and spend the day biking around the spread out site. for therapy. Anuradhapura became the capital of Sri Lanka in 380 BC and rose to prominence with the influence of Buddhism a hundred years later. It survived for 1000 years until it was replaced by Polonnaruwa. Being older it is not as well preserved as Polonnaruwa however it is still used as a place of worship and a number of the dagodas have been partially restored including the Abhayagiri dagoda dating back to the first century BC, originally over a 100 meters in height and one of the greatest structures known to mankind, second to the great pyramids of Giza.

270_0C77B878D9830A9EF50FB45BD573B2C2.jpeg
OUR BIKE CHILDREN

0C89B96A9D0180AAF0F6319CDA28DFAE.jpeg
ELEPHANT POND

0C8CF448BC73FE62B04714B93DD3843C.jpeg
OPEN CLASSROOM

0C8F1F2BFF1E5E0B3D03F82C457FBEF4.jpeg
ABHAYAGIRI DAGODA GUESS HOW MANY BRICKS?

SRI MAHA BODHI
This Bodhi tree is regarded as the oldest authenticated cultivated tree in the world - now more than 2000 years old. It has been protected and nourished through wars and conquests. This sacred tree and shrine is the most sacred site in Sri Lanka, central to the spiritual wellbeing of the people. Being a weekend we are accompanied by throngs of locals bringing offerings. An elderly lady offers us some flowers to lay on the shrine. Drummers dance and people chant and process around the site finally laying their offerings at the feet of the Buddha in the temple. It is a moving experience to behold.

0CBD7F9F060CB9C6038135CFDB29AD14.jpeg
THE SACRED BODHI

0CC0C1709515991BB51BBD94C1863BEA.jpeg0CB833D7CF8B4C20F55193ECDAFF8047.jpeg0CB6140A0310CCA81D95C82610F7E618.jpeg0CBAAF7BBB596C811A3B6F705B2A6B58.jpeg
PERAHERA PROCESSIONAL CELEBRATION

0D10C6DFF87508F2BCED95C0F311EF38.jpeg
THE BODHI BUDDHA

Posted by RDILL 19:46 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged anuradhapura Comments (0)

JAN 29 SIGIRIYA AND DAMBULLA

More Sared Sites

sunny 33 °C

SIGIRIYA
We decide to check out two major sites on our way to Anuradhapura and hire a van and driver to take us there. We want to leave early but the van is late. The president is arriving and all the roads are closed until he passes. No one can get to work or school and our driver can't get to us. An hour later at 8 am we get on the road, our destination Sigiriya 75 minutes away.

Sigiriya is the most dramatic tourist site in all of Sri Lanka. A rocky outcropping rises vertically out of the countryside to a flat topped summit that contains the ruins of an ancient civilization. The site is believed to be the short lived kingdom of Kassapa who murdered his father and looked for an unassailable place to build his palace back in the 5th century AD although it is also believed to be a place of worship as early as the first century AD.

The surrounding countryside is filled with lily pad covered moats, water gardens, boulder gardens and terraced gardens which all adds to the appeal. The climb to the top includes 1200 steps attached to sheer vertical cliffs. Along the ascent you pass caves containing ancient frescoes preserved from the elements and in great condition as well as giant lions paws carved out of the rock. The summit contains the foundations of the once royal palace and other buildings as well as a lovely water dugout. There are stunning views of the surrounding countryside. The site is full of tourists both foreign and locals coming to visit, and though crowded is still worth the visit. We spend the greater part of the morning there and then stop for lunch.

270_C423BDBCCF3FC9CAB0D9F2E3708ECE86.jpegC504AE3B00D150DD103EF235DDF40BB4.jpeg
THE WATER GARDENS

270_C4EFA656D68E7737CEC41DD4324DD8D9.jpeg
THE ROCK GARDENS

C4FA6086D5F4A4C4443298DAFFBDE469.jpeg270_C527ED22B08085AB7B62FE977A3959A0.jpeg
CLIMBING THE ROCK

C419558AAC6ED893E2EF47F8212884BD.jpegC4E53EF6D4C47FD4D701BB9E973D732A.jpeg
THE LIONS FEET

270_C54798A7DD1D86FA0C6650E8CAB85205.jpeg
THE OLD WAY

270_C3D164B6E16C09D9B3F2B12561D73EE2.jpeg
REACHING THE TOP

270_C551EBB50CB3B661C8C6444F746EEADB.jpegC5EDBCEEF63753CD925051C8A8E0DEBE.jpegC5F7BFE6E039303E710FD31ECD38C7D4.jpeg
THE ANCIENT CITY

DAMBULLA
Dambulla is the site of a famous 5 cave rock temple built into the side of a rocky hill and which contains over 150 Buddha statues and some of the finest examples of ancient religious art in the world. The first paintings are dated back to the first century AD and have been added to over the centuries to create a harmonious composition. All the walls and ceilings of the caves are covered in painting or design.

270_C6F272CB0E7AAA3B8465689A7ED8CBBA.jpeg
ENTRY TO THE CAVES

C78013D7D406E527A8C69EC90EBF83A5.jpegC710FDCF98367E74A6BEC32A6E194667.jpeg270_C7068BC0C7528B3AE9236E438978ED0F.jpeg270_C7758AFB049ADDD0A64FA83BF85A7A63.jpeg
THE BUDDHAS

270_C69C8C6491F4221691DDCB81110869A3.jpeg270_C78A4B13A12350A045A08B3C424D64AB.jpeg
CEILING ART

There are superb views from The caves over the countryside. Sigiriya is clearly visible 20 kilometres in the distance.
270_C79F9B8EB470C49BF603A97AC6832A3F.jpeg

We descend, and our driver takes us to the bus stop and we catch the first bus to Anuradhapura. It is standing room only but soon we are seated and 2 hours later we arrive at our next destination.

Posted by RDILL 11:05 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged dambulla sigiriya Comments (0)

JAN 28 BIKING POLONNARUWA

BKE ADVENTURES
We decide to bike around Lake Parakrama. Within the first half hour Kathy's front bike tire blows. We check in at a fancy (from our perspective) hotel and the staff try to repair the tire. They locate a bicycle pump but it comes apart on the first attempt to put air in. We try to tell them it needs more than a pump. There is a big hole in the tire and the tube is shot. Finally we contact our host and before long he comes along with a replacement bike sticking out the sides of his tuk tuk. He takes the inoperable one back and we continue on our journey but it is 33 C and we are soon ready to head back before we get to the National Park at the south end of the Lake. We return through the village countryside and the villagers are friendly but not nearly as excited to have us pass them on bicycles as in the jeep the day before. Don and I go for an afternoon swim in the lake. It is clean and wonderfully refreshing slightly cooler than the air outside A nice relaxing day after yesterday and before tommorow.

C08C69B89545E85C832A60619461A3DD.jpeg270_C0AB9500A6FD488E2F5E9314744B1020.jpeg270_C096873DC5216B36C09A242BBBD0A426.jpeg

Posted by RDILL 08:03 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

JAN 27 POLONNARUWA

EXPLORING THE RUINS

sunny 32 °C

POLLONARUWA RUINS
We get up early, rent bikes for the day and head off to the ruins. Pollonaruwa was the Royal capital of both the Chola and Singhalese kingdoms. In its day it was a thriving commercial and religious centre. Now it is an archeological gem on the UNESCO world heritage list. When the South Indian Chola dynasty captured Anuradhapura in the late part of the 10th century they established Polonnaruwa as their capital and when the Singhalese drove off the Chola years later they retained Polonnaruwa as capital.

Under King Parakramabika (1153 to 1186) the city reached its zenith. He erected many fine buildings and parks and created the 25 square kilometer tank (man made lake) and irrigation system still evident today. The tank was so large it has been named the Sea of Parakrama. Major buildings were established for worship, to house the royalty and monastic orders. Hugh temples and meeting areas were created including the sacred temple to house the Buddhas tooth. Extensive social and commercial laws enacted. A civilization flourished that was as sophisticated as the western Roman Empire. Thieves were given payment to stop thievery and the land was extensively irrigated with tanks and networks of sluices and canals. The treasury was enriched by charging a fee for water use and the kingdom was encouraged to use every drop of water to produce food for internal use and trade. By the 13th century Polonnaruwa was increasingly attacked by India and abandoned, with the centre of Singhalese power moving to the west of the Sri Lanka.

Ruins include the Royal Palace and Quadrangle housing the temples supposedly housing the sacred toothed well as the Vatadage, the circular relic house, the Lankatilaka Temple and the Val Vihara, one of the finest examples of Sinhalese rock carving. The impressive images of Buddha are carved from one huge slab of granite. The standing Buddha is 7 meters tall.

B7DE620A07F0F0FD9ED6A2627EE8FE2A.jpegB8C9C6B9E49AB35C8082769B872CC38B.jpeg
VAL VIHERA RECLINING BUDDHA

B7DFE479CE253E89D3762398A77B8D03.jpeg
VAL VIHERA SITTING BUDDHA

270_B89825409B6BE6F25AF7C9867989EF0B.jpeg270_B8A2C4CD922D5296FAEA3DCB40CC90FB.jpeg
VAL VIHERA STANDING BUDDHA

B835C892F60806E214A7E6446BBDF5D4.jpegB7F01D54E0EDDA409760A9601BB20727.jpeg
THE VATADAGE

B83A2402027C51FAFA166A30F6215A68.jpeg
VATADAGE GUARD STONES

B7E3F73AE3D3E83109614544BB572F93.jpeg
VATADAGE MOONSTONE (ENTRY STONE)

270_B7ED6F7EA399C6687B5076225A590CE0.jpeg
THE LANKATILAKA TEMPLE

TANKS AND IRRIGATION
The land was systematically dammed to create hugh lakes with sluices that would divert water into canals that could be used to irrigate the land and provide water to residents. The system is remarkable and still in use today. Villages and rice paddies are still provided water through this system and the remarkable thing is that after more than a thousand years the land is still arable and alive. The tanks had systems to purify the water for drinking and they had a system of pots put they would put under latrines filled with charcoal and rocks to filter waste before it went back into the ground. Pretty impressive.

B9CC86969D78D33E2DE91FF1305FE9C2.jpeg270_B9C2B0FFC654FBBDFB507B345A434EC9.jpeg
CANALS AND SLUICES

B9AB69E8B4C1A37DDB1C3C7E7B6E1B39.jpegb
IRRIGATED RICE FIELDS

BE3F3647A89B3725C4B6AC18782702C3.jpeg
PARAKRAMA AT SUNSET

THE ROYAL PROCESSION
We hire a driver and jeep for the afternoon. The first couple of hours we explore the backroads of village life here. The villages are spread out along canals and ditches. Everyone has front door water access., some by walking across log bridges to access. The villagers are not used to seeing a jeep pass by their front door and everywhere we go the villagers rush out to greet us and wave and say hello. Standing in the back of the. Jeep, we wave back. Mani says she feels like royalty passing by. The countryside is alive with birds and wildlife and we get a few close ups to add to our collection.

270_C0A0D5F3C0BB8B62998A4BE05E1EF308.jpeg
RIDING HIGH

BE635B9DB4608E0DB1B332FF49E8E367.jpeg
MALABAR PIED HORNBILL (THEY CALL IT A TOUCAN)

BE65661DE8DE176641F861373E5B7E51.jpeg
MONKEY DELIGHT

In the later afternoon we go exploring for elephants. We skirt the edges of the parks but find the highest concentration on the roads including the main highway. One elephant decides to cross and as I am focusing on shooting a video and gets upset and starts to charge after a motorcycle passes by. Our jeep is in full gear down the road as I am trying to focus.

BE8A3226FE7F2FE312EAC7CE63FBC712.jpeg270_BE9550EC063CB110C4242E4B19665721.jpeg270_BEA027FEC8C95EE4E612F3082E8385EE.jpegBE7BE092C666760A41383EC774835555.jpeg

Posted by RDILL 07:09 Archived in Sri Lanka Tagged ruins village life lankal Comments (0)

JAN 26 KANDY TO POLONNARUWA

On the Busses Again

sunny 30 °C

WE HEADING FOR THE ANCIENT CITIES
We head for the 11th and 12 th century capital of Sri Lanka POLONNARUWA. It is a 3 hour bus ride and we are getting to be experts at catching the right bus and relaxing on our trip. Our host in Pollonaruwa is there to greet us and take us to our new home. It is clean spacious and has air oconditioning. We relax for a few minutes, go for a walk along the lakefront and return for another scrumptious dinner.

902F6969E3DDDF94B7D6C03630302234.jpeg270_90394821C2DD6F9C12C BBADA56C7D11F.jpeg
HOTEL ANCIENT VILLAGE

270_901B088BBE171CDFD2D68ADDF1ED7AB0.jpeg
A RATHER ANCIENT TREE

90112DF70038BD69A5BEAC5F2CF321FD.jpeg
SUNSET OVER THE "TANK"

Posted by RDILL 09:32 Archived in Sri Lanka Comments (0)

(Entries 11 - 15 of 70) Previous « Page 1 2 [3] 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 .. » Next