Published: January 5th 2009December 11th 2008
There were loads of old foundations for building before you got to Mihintale itself. This was once a sort of foot spa.
Sorry for the delay in my blogs, its now 3rd January 2009 and still blogging about Sri Lanka in December 2008. This is the last chapter from Sri Lanka before I arrived in Thailand. Mihintale
The morning sun was in full swing and as l started to climb the first set of steps my T-Shirt being to show the signs of the heat and became wet.
Once at the top you come across a statue of King Devanampiya and just behind him was a giant rock with steps craved into them, so l started to climb them, and climb until l reached the huge white Buddha. The view from here over the grounds on Mihintale was amazing. Once back down again there was the central Dagoba that was the first one built here. Next to the Dagoba was a mango tree that plays a big part in Mihintale history. Mahinda’s Riddle
Before Mahinda initiated King Devanampiya Tissa into Buddhism, he needed to gauge the king’s intelligence. He decided to test the king with a riddle. Pointing to a tree he asked him to name the tree. “This tree is called Mango”, replied
the king. “Is there yet another Mango besides this?” asked Mahinda. “There are many Mango trees”, responded the King, “And are there yet other trees besides this Mango and other Mangoes?” asked Mahinda. “There are many trees, but those are trees which are not Mangoes”, said the King. “And are there, besides the other Mangoes and those trees which are not Mangoes, yet other trees?” asked Mahinda. “There is this Mango tree”, said the King, who as a result passes the test.
I then climbed a massive rock that towered over the whole site. The Aradhana Gala means “Mediation Rock” and like before has steps craved out of the rock, this is quiet a climb but the views over the lower grounds in the distance was amazing. I was the only person at the time to be climbing the rock and once on top on my own with the fantastic views, was a place of real calmness and l did spend about half an hour up there on my own.
From the top l could see loads of monks in the bright orange robes going about their daily business, collecting water, sweeping the grounds and teaching in small
This is one of 2 Tablets
This is a tablet that has the first spriptures of buddhisium in Sri Lanka
groups around the area. All in all l had spent about 3 hours here by the time it was time to move on to the next stop. Once back down to meet my driver it was time to change my shirt for a fresh dry one. Anuradhapura and the Bodhi Tree
The drive to Anuradhapura took another 2 hours and the site is spread over a large expanse of land.
It would take me about another 2500 words to tell you about this leg of this trip, but to sum up the day here, l saw many ancient buildings from the 6th to 12th Century and many Buddhist Statues. The best part of this day was to see the oldest Bodhi Tree in the world. This tree is over 2000 years old and the branches are now supported by golden posts and the tree its self is only visible from a distance of about 20 metres as a temple has been built around the Bodhi Tree and is a shrine for the people of Sri Lanka. Security is this area is really tight and had to go through about 6 check points were l had to
be searched including my bag and even undo all the parts of my camera. Moonstone at Anuradhapura
The moonstone is a permanent feature of the buddhist building of all historical periods. This is a semi circular piece of stone which stood in front of most buddhist buildings. Although the moonstone is generally semi circular, Sometimes you can come across square moonstones. It is thought that the moon stones originated as blank square stone and later developed in to a semi circular shape. This again developed to include multitude of carved decorations in later stages. But the moonstones in the monasteries where the forest dwelling monks lived maintained the blank semi circular shape.
The design of the moonstone has undergone many changes over time, But the moonstones show the highest level of creativity closer to the end of the Anuradhapura Era. In the Anuradhapura Era The outer edge is designed with a ring of flames and below that is a ring filled with 4 types of animals - The elephant, the horse, the lion, and the bull. The next is a circle of a floral pattern (“liyawela”). Next is a line of swans with a twig
of flower and a leaf on their mouth. Next is again a floral pattern and at the centre is lotus with petals all around the semi circle on the moonstone.
The meanings of this combination of patterns are debated widely. One interpretation is that the out ring of fire represents the never ending life and the pains associated with it. The four animals represent the four noble truths (“Chathurarya Sathya”) of Buddha. Next is a motif of swans. It is said that the swan is capable of separating out milk from a mixture of water and milk. He who understand (conquer) four noble truths can easily filter the good from the bad like the swan filters out milk. Once you do that you are capable of attaining the “Nibbana” represented by the lotus.
Another interesting fact is that the bull in the moonstones was apparently dropped in the Pollonnaruwa era. This is thought to be the influence of Hindus. The bull is a sacred animal to the Hindus and trampling of this symbol was probably disrespectful. With the omission of the bull the lion too have been taken a way from the moonstone as the lion is used
to represent the Sinhala Race. With the omission of these two animals, the bull moved on to a pedestal on the side of the Balustrade and the lion is carved on the outer wall of the Balustrade itself. 36 hours and 4 Flights
Once we had covered this area l was then driven the 8 hours back to Sri Lanka Airport to wait for my flight to Chennai (India) we arrived at the airport at about 9pm and my flight was a 3am, so l made myself comfortable in the airport bar and rested until the flights was ready to depart.
I arrived in Chennai and my next flight to Mumbai (India) was a few hours later, due to the Terrorist problems in Mumbai a couple of week before the Security here took about 2 hours to go through. The flight to Mumbai was only a couple of hours so l soon arrived in Mumbai. I arrived at about 9am and my next flight to Bangkok was not until Midnight so after going without sleep for the best part of 36 hours l found myself a hotel not far from the Airport and went
to sleep, well l tried to sleep. I had informed the reception staff not to disturb me and for a wakeup call for 7pm. 2 hours into my deep sleep there was someone at the door asking me if l wanted my room cleaned?????. Then a hour later someone on the phone asking me if l wanted any laundry done????. So you can imagine my response to how my stay was once l checked out, especially when l didn’t even receive the wakeup call as well. I arrived at Mumbai international Airport at about 9pm and checked in for my flight. What l have noticed since travelling is that nearly every Airport is in the process of being rebuilt and Mumbai was in total chaos. The flight boarded on time but just before take off the captain aborted the flight and we had to go back to the terminal to check out an issue. After 45 minutes we were back on the runway and on our way to Bangkok.
Bangkok Airport is a new Airport and is spread over 5 floors of restaurants, Check in desks and waiting rooms. My flight was not due for 7 hours but l managed
to fill in my time without getting bored. This airport is spotlessly clean and is far more impressive than the new Heathrow Terminal 5. Phuket, Laetita and Family, here l am at last !!!
I arrived in Phuket just after 2pm and once l had collected my baggage l could'nt wait to get to the meeting area to see laetita after 3 months after leaving campfire in South Africa. My eyes were clocking everybody in the crowd but no sight of Tish and family, had she forgotten the date, or the fact that l was comming all together???. Just in the distance l say a small old thai man with a card " Geoff for Laetita" written on it. I went over to him and he told me that Laetita was waiting for me at there home and he was sent to collect me.
There are more photos below