Lost in Antiquity

Trip Start Oct 20, 2004
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Trip End Apr 26, 2005


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Saturday, March 5, 2005

DAMBULLA, SIGIRIYA,AND POLONNARUWA

We made our way from the spectacular Knuckles Range to the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, stopping along the way to see Dambulla and Sigiriya. The Dambulla cave temples are about 2,000 years old and contain hundreds of statues and wall paintings of Lord Buddha. It is a remarkably peaceful environment, save for the mangy monkeys chattering loudly outside the caves. Dambulla was the highlight of our day.

Following the cave temples we made a quick stop at Sigiriya, an enormous rock fortress. However, our sore legs begged us not to go near any steps, so we honored their plea and skipped the climb. We took a photo of the rock and drove on.

Our ride to Polonnaruwa passed through forests inhabited by wild elephants and a million butterflies. After a beautiful drive (we saw no elephants, unfortunately) we reached our destination. Polonnaruwa is a city of ancient ruins, most of which date back to the 12th century. The city is a cross between Rome's Ostia Antica and Cambodia's Angkor Wat, though closer in architectural style and influence to the latter. We learned that much of Polonnaruwa's ancient city was built by slaves from Southeast Asia, hence its resemblance to Angkor. Polonnaruwa is actually quite fantastic; however, we just weren't into being tourists at this point in our trip. Perhaps in anticipation of the weekend ahead, our minds and hearts preceeded us to Kirinda.
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