Sri Lanka - Day 5
Trip Start Jan 04, 2013
20Trip End Jan 26, 2013
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Our driver picked us up at 7:30 sharp to take us to Polonnaruwa, a collection of ancient buildings and monuments that were once the capital of an ancient Sri Lanken kingdom 800 years ago.
The drive out of the forest took us through washed out roads with water levels that reached wheels and potholes that threated to dismantle our mini van. To our disbelief and great relief we finally reached the main road in one piece and settled in for the 2 hour drive to Polonnaruwa
Our first major stop was the Royal Palace grounds, which consisted of several buildings, gardens and pools, anchored by what was once the magnificent 7 story palace of Parakramabahu. The weather had cleared up a bit so we strolled the ruins, taking pictures and soaking up the history.
In the distance you could hear the rains lashing at the forest canopy. The unsettling sound became louder by the second. The change air pressure and temperature could be felt seconds before the inevitable deluge struck. Stranded in the open we took shelter under a tree untill the rains let up and we were able to make a dash for our van.
Freshly armed with umbrellas we ventured back to the ruins. This was going to be our one shot at visiting these sites so we were not going to let a simple monsoon deter us from our mission.
Our next stop is referred to as the Quadrangle, a tightly condensed collection of ruins including a vatadage, several shrines and a library. As these are religious relics we are required to remove our shoes, as is the local custom of respect
Our final stop was Gal Vihara, a collection of 4 beautiful Buddha statues all carved out of a single long wall of granite. The tallest one is 7 meters high and the longest 14 meters wide. Each statue is exquisite in detail that blended with the granite's veins, inspiring awe regardless of individual beliefs.
Three quarters of the day had past and we agreed that it was time to retire from the rains and return to our tree houses. With a dry change of clothes and a full belly from dinner we returned to our rooms for some light reading before calling it a day.