A hidden Buddha behind the dunes and Yala NP

Trip Start Jun 25, 2012
1
8
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Trip End Aug 19, 2012


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What I did
Yala National Park
Madu Maha Vihara

Flag of Sri Lanka  , Southern,
Tuesday, July 3, 2012

I noticed this morning at breakfast that it was very quiet. I did not see Julie or the boys anywhere. Learning the lesson many years ago, I fought the urge to look and just continued to work on my Healthcare blog. Mike and I had planned the night before to go off on a search for a hidden, well not that hidden, Buddhist temple that was between Pottuvil and the beach. On looking for my shoes, I found them all doing Yoga, or by the time I found them, Julie doing Yoga, and the boys wondering why it was so hard. I mean, it is only stretching, right? Julie asked to join us, so we waited.

waited....

On the advice of Bari, the owner, we headed towards the beach way earlier than I would have. I was right, but we met up with more interesting people, saw the boat in the garage, and lots of cute kids, as always. We finally started hearing Buddhist chants coming from across a dune and headed in that direction. It was a great little find. While the statue is well worn, the nearby Bodisattvia statues are still in great condition. It appeared to be a small complex, but by looking at the stones going into the dunes and a little talking, it is said to have been several hundred acres at some time in the past. The temple is pretty controversial actually, and I have heard from P that the President might just bulldoze it. Finding information of this is quite difficult, but here is a little of what I have found:

"The area itself is part of the ancient Ruhunu Kingdom and there are still temple ruins and forgotten shrines to be found in the vicinity. Notable is the Madu Maha Vihara on the coast by Pottuvil, the main town. It lies amid sand dunes and is said to mark the place where Queen Vihara Maha Devi and her entourage were washed ashore, and not at Kirinda. The ruins remaining are of a brick boundary wall of an image house with lots of tall stone pillars like sentries guarding a well-preserved statue of a Buddha and two Bodhisattva figures." from http://www.discoverlk.com/food-of-sri-lanka/94-meat.html

The issue is that the official government approved history and what all children are taught in school is that she landed in Kirinda and this site suggests that maybe she landed here, on the East coast. She is supposed to be the mother of the Sinhalese people meeting up with the aboriginal Veddha's. This area is populated by the Tamils which would encourage their importance and it is the Tamils who have been fighting the Sinhalese in the civil war up until about 3 years ago. The government is made up entirely of Sinhalese and very corrupt.

After Lunch, around 1:30 we jumped in the back of a truck and headed South to Yala National Park, This park is known to have the highest concentration of Leopards in the world. We were hoping to see one and even more illusive would be a sun bear. The paved road turned to a ruddy dirt road by the time we reached Panama and we still had a very long and slow 14 km to go. It was rough, but Julie kept her cookies down. The ticket writing process was quite extensive for some reason but a guide jumped in with us and off we went.

We went in for about an hour and a half stopped to spend some time with some macaque monkeys and then turned around and headed back. The guide had told us that our best chance to see a Leopard was around 5:30 and around 5:40 we came around a corner, the driver slammed on his brakes and there one was in the middle of the road. He sauntered off to some rocks, peed, marked his territory, turned to see if we were still there, then headed into the jungle. Great experience. We later saw another, but just quickly. Here is a list of the animals we saw: crocodiles, elephants, spotted deer, mongoose, foxes, wild boars, hares, macaques, purple faced leaf monkeys, leopards, water buffalo, sambar deer, monitor lizard, and lots of birds including: Ibis, pelican, egrets, painted storks, spoonbills, horn bills, sandpipers, eagles, ducks and herons. Even after sitting in the back of a truck for 7 hours, we still had a great time.

Got back and ordered fried bananas and ice cream, skyped with my mother and took care of the first weeks bill. We are averaging $97 a day for two beach bungalows and all the food eaten here which is our main source of food. Not bad.






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Comments

Paulette Puckett on

Great blog today; enjoyed reading it and so excited for you guys that you were lucky enough to see leopards. The History lesson was Not torture, son...good job.

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