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Sigiriya - Anuradhapura - Sunday, 28 January 2018

Visit the world heritage listed sacred city of Anuradhapura

semi-overcast 33 °C

Hotel - Vil Uyana, Sigiriya - Room No 115

Today we are visiting the world heritage listed sacred city of Anuradhapura, widely acknowledged as the first capital of Sri Lanka. It was established acround a cutting from the "tree of enlightenment", the Buddha's fig tree, brought to Anuradhapura in the third century bc by Sanghamitta, the founder of an order of Buddhist nuns. Anuradhapura, a Ceylonese political and religious capital that flourished for 1,300 years, was abandoned after an invasion in 993. Hidden away in dense jungle for many years, the splendid site, with its palaces, monasteries and monuments, is now accessible once again. Being a Sunday, many, many people, all dressed in white were there with their families.

Along the way, we passed the renovation of this stupa. No OH&S here!

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We arrived at the sacred site and it was hot, very hot and still. Shoes and hats off and we had to enter via the Men and Women doors. How quaint.

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Not a good look!

I am very impressed with this sign. It shows that the Sri Lankans have definitely entered into the 21st century.

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We were just in time to see a very,very long procession, led my musicians playing a horn and beating a drum and the people were carrying above their heads a piece of orange cloth. They circled around a couple of times and then went up the stairs inside the temple. It is supposed to be lucky and give you long life if you touch the cloth, so of course, we all did that.

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This is the sacred tree that has grown from the branch. It is supported by gold beams.

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The locals are very friendly and smile and acknowledge us as we pass them. Some of the teenagers want to chat to us which is nice.

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We walked down the road to another temple but Phil didn't want to come inside so stayed outside and made friends with the guards! There are people everywhere and the monkeys too. They put on quite a display. They are makaks and are quite aggressive and dangerous and we were warned not to smile at them or bare our teeth, because they think we are challenging them and they will attack us and we would probably end up with a dose of rabies.

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I am just loving seeing the elderly Sri Lankans with grey hair. In India, they put that dreadful orange henna in their hair and it looks atrocious but the grey haired Sri Lankans look just lovely.

We drove to a lovely hotel for lunch and then continued on to the standing Buddha Statue of Aukana.

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The 12m high Aukana Buddha was sculpted during the reign of Dhatusena in the 5th century, though some sources date it to the 12th or 13th centuries. Aukana means "sun eating" and when the sun's rays light up the huge statue's finely carved features is the best time to see it. We were there in the afternoon and it was very hot.

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Before returning to our accommodation for a late dinner, we stopped at the Kandalama Tank hotel which is somehow carved into the side of a mountain, for Sundowners. It was very, very pleasant, standing outside the seventh level overlooking the hotel grounds and the lake, sipping a drink and watching the sunset.

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Sigiriya Rock Fortress was way in the background and everyone was a bit sorry they wouldn't be seeing it close up after our stories of climbing it. There was an elephant giving rides to hotel guests below us.

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Posted by gaddingabout 04:49 Archived in Sri Lanka

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