Published: November 1st 2012November 1st 2012
View of the courtyard area of our hotel
Arrived in Colombo at about 4am after a 10 hour stopover in Mumbai airport. Found a quiet “sleeping” area with couches to try to get some rest but the others resting there spent most of their time on their mobile phones and talking….but did manage to get a few minutes of shut eye.
Feroze of Bobby Travels was at the airport to meet us – which was great – he took us straight to our hotel and we went to bed at about 5am – slept straight for 7 hours. Hot and steamy in the middle of the day but a nice walk along the beach late afternoon and a couple of drinks and dinner and then I settled in for a couple of movies.
Negombo is on the beach and is only about 10kms from the international airport so if you don’t particularly want to go into Colombo it is a good spot to stay. Mainly a beach – fishing village with two fish markets. The Dutch built a canal that runs for approx 120km south from Negombo to Colombo and north to Puttalam. This canal was used to move spices, etc easily down into Colombo…now I believe
View of ocean from roof of our hotel...just across the road.
it is safe haven for fishermen’s boats during storms.
We drove from Negombo to Anuradhapura (north along the west coast) today. It is Sunday today so not a lot open but a lot of people going to church and also tomorrow is holiday for Full Moon so there were a lot of people on a pilgrimage around the Anuradhapura area.
Not long after leaving Negombo we saw a lot of roof tile factories. The whole process is still carried out by hand and the tiles are wood fired. The factory owners provide housing for the families of the workers close to the factory site.
Sunday markets along the way – but learnt a lot about coconuts and their uses. There are two types here – one orange in color and the other one green. The green one is used for cooking. But nothing is wasted from a coconut……firstly there is the liquid which can be drunk, and apparently it is much cheaper than buying soft drink, oil is extracted, and of course the white flesh.
In rural areas you can still see coconut-frond matting roofing, fencing made from dried coconut palm branches, and roof supports made
Fairly new Hindu Temple
betweem Mamawewa and Chilaw. A lot of destruction took place during the war and a lot of "new" temples have been built - both Hindu and Buddhist.
from coconut wood. The fibrous husk can be woven into rope, matting and upholstery, while yard brooms are made from the tough mid-rib of the coconut frond.
The shells are used to make tacky souvenirs and bowls are also widely available. Also might mention that the honey-coloured alcoholic drink “arrack” also comes from the coconut.
Puttalam – one of the towns we passed through – is home to many Tamils and Muslim population. Until a couple of years ago this area was not safe to pass through and the Sri Lankan army are still stationed at a nearby old fort.
The road was amazing after coming from Nepal – but it was explained to us that it is a fairly new road because of the recent war – but to us it was like riding on air.
Anuradhapura became the first capital of Sri Lanka in 380BC ruled by various kings and is a big Buddhist area. The last great king of this area built 16 “tanks” (lakes) in the area and today we saw many locals swimming and having picnics in these areas. All around this place are temples and ruins of the ancient city…..and
it is all still just lying around – security is pretty tight we were told so nothing has been disturbed or stolen.
Although it was raining on and off most of the afternoon, we managed to visit most of the important sites……entrance to all these areas is bare feet and Michael had to “cover his knees”…so my feet won’t need a pedi for a while.
Sri Maha Bodhi…..the sacred bodhi tree is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world as it has been tended by an uninterrupted succession of guardians for over 2000 years, even during the periods of Indian occupation. The tree supposedly has grown from a cutting bought from Bodhgaya in India by Princess Sangamitta, sister of Mahinda – who introduced Buddha’s teachings to Sri Lanka.
Kuttam Pokuns – Twin Ponds…..apparently the best bathing tanks in the area and were probably used by the monks from the nearby monastery.
Ruvanvelisaya Dagoba…..This dagoba looked amazing as we drove up to it as it is surrounded/guarded by a wall of elephants standing shoulder to shoulder. It looks impressive but most have been modern replacements of the originals from 140BC. It is supposed to be the
these peacock images are all around the border of the temple and the image is the same front and back.
biggest stupa in Sri Lanka and stands about 55m tall. The land around it is a bit like a green park which is dotted with patches of ruins, the remains of ponds and pools, and collections of columns and pillars…and, of course, monkeys. Michael insists of getting up close and personal with the monkeys as they are bounding about the park in and out of the rubbish bins – reminding him that he hasn’t had a rabies shot….
Mirisavatiya Dagoba….supposedly built about 130BC – the story goes that Dutugemunu went to bathe in the tank, leaving his ornate scepter implanted in the bank. When he emerged he found his scepter, which contained a relic of the Buddha, impossible to pull out. Taking this as an auspicious sign he had the dagoba built.
Isurumuniya Vihara……This rock temple is said to date between 207-247BC and has some good carvings which are now displayed in a small museum within the temple. You can climb up to the top of the rock for some good views, but, for me the best part of this temple was the image house which has a reclining Buddha cut from the rock, great ceiling patterns and
The colors are amazing.
floor tile patterns.
Great little guest house tonight….Thilaka Holiday Home…..friendly, nice/modern/clean rooms/pool/everything……feel like a princess after the guest houses in Kathmandu…here they supply soap and toilet paper….wow…
There are more photos below