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Published: February 11th 2006
So...after Kandy and basically off for a circular tour of the 'old bits' of the island, and my my it's a fascinating place.
We started off on a small detour to a herb and spice garden. A bit of a tourist trap, but we had a fantastic talk from a professor of something or other, and then a 'free' massage. Wow - beat anything we had in India by a long shot - incredibly soothing - done by pressing with hard fingertips. Not sure what they put in the tea, but in a rather unusual act for us we ended up spending loads in the 'medicine' shop. Steve is now the proud owner of some strange looking tables that will "sort his gut out" in 45 days. Oh joy !
Anyway...to cut a long story short we then went on to visit....
Dambulla - a Rock Temple that is a series of natural caves, now richly painted and stuffed full of Buddha statues and images from 15th century.
Anuadhapura - the ancient capital. It has the Sri Mara Bodhi - which is the worlds holiest tree - a cutting from the tree under which Buddha found enlightenment.
Aside from all the other ruins etc there, our personal fav was the Jetavananarama Dagoba, which is quite difficult to describe. It's basically a Buddhist shrine, that is a circular brick built mound. However, it's simply enormous...over 100 meters in diameter - hopefully the photos do it justice.
Polonnaruwa - the second ancient capital, and we think the best. Stuffed full of ancient yet beautifully preserved ruins of swimming pools and palace and temples and and and...
And finally to Sigiriya...the 8th called wonder of the world by some. Unfortunately we had a torrential rain storm, which sort of spoilt the views but added to the atmosphere. If you think of a cross between Ayres rock and Macchu Picchu, your not far wrong. It's an ancient palace built on top of a towering rock fortress - complete with 200 meter high sheer sides. The climb up is via a series of rickety staircases nailed into the wall. Tough in the sunshine - try it in the rain. We are told the views at the top are stunning. Still brilliant though.
That's enough culture...lets get some tea !!
Steve and Lou xx
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