Everybody on the bus!

Trip Start Sep 19, 2012
1
42
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Trip End Jul 22, 2014


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Saturday, March 9, 2013

Back at the guest house after another tasty meal we met a young couple from Wales. We have all decided to use the services of Jimmy and his mini van to explore the next great UNESCO heritage site - Polonnaruwa.

Once again it was a great drive and this country is really lush and green. The landscapes are scattered with statures of Buddhas and Dagobas. Some just little small shrines on the side of the road while others are massive carvings sticking out of the jungle. Drivers just pull to the side of the road, hop out and pay their respects and a few rupees at roadside shrines.

After Anuradhapura was destroyed, a new capital was set up in Pollonaruwa. This became the medieval capital. Again huge temples and structures were built and a massive city expanded over the years. A huge 'tank' was built which covers an area of 2430 hectares. It is was used to supply the city with water and also the surrounding rice fields. Another $25!!!  Again the planning and layout was awe inspiring and Angel was filled with contagious enthusiasm once again. The planning and layout was done in such a way that even though the buildings a very uniform and precisely laid out they blend in with the natural surroundings. Maybe it has something to do with a Buddhist vibe. Once again Jimmy proved his worth by taking us to all the main sites in his mini van and then allowing us as much time to wander around as we liked. The buildings are more elaborate and the carvings are in incredible condition. Especially the little terracotta 'Cartoon' characters on some of the temples.

Two of the highlights for me was firstly the Gal Vihara rock sculptures that were carved out of one huge granite rock by unknown artists. These three massive but beautiful carvings depict 3 images of Buddha, one sitting, one standing and the last one lying down. The craftsmanship is unbelievable. The second site that impressed me was a fairly small structure called the 'Lotus Pond'. This was a small carved bathing pond with concentric circles forming the shape of a Lotus Flower. What amazed me was that each stone was hand carved and individually shaped so that no two stones were the same. These were then placed without mortar to create this beautiful bath. Have a look at the photo and see the skill that was used and this is nearly 1500 years ago.

We stopped off for lunch and Angel decided he was staying as he was heading north. So the Welsh couple and I headed off with Jimmy to Sigiriya.  The Welsh guy was teaching every local we came across to say in Welsh "what is the time" but actually teaching them to say " I have an itchy fanny". This amused him greatly and the rest of the trip he was in convulsions of laughter and no one could understand why!!! Arrived in Sigiriya where the Welsh couple decided to climb Lion Rock and then head off on their travels. I decided that I would spend the night here and climb in the morning when it was cooler.



  
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