Saturday, March 20, 2010

Old Glories in an Ancient City - Anuradhapura Sri Lanka

Lankarama Dagoba, Sacred City of Kandy.

Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka - I travelled 210 kilometers north of Colombo to start my journey around what they call the Cultural Triangle, a trail of sacred cities and very old (3rd century, any one?) cities. It was 5 and 1/2 hours! First stop: Anuradhapura. Even as I write this, I still occasionally stammer! Such tongue twisters.

My bus left the fort Terminal at 6:10AM. I wasn't even sure if this was the right one. lonely Planet listed 2 different bus numbers, this one was bus number 15! I asked the conductor and baker but I couldn't understand them. Were they nodding? Waving their head? Saying no? It was unclear to,. I asked elsewhere, a young guy who was already seated in the bus.
By 11:30AM, i was already in hot, humid Anuradhapura where it hasn't seen rain in 3 weeks. before that, it was just a drizzle. After finding a place to sleep (this place has a LOT of dogs - and I hate them!), i hired a tuktuk (bajaj - named after their "manufacturer" much like Sarao) for 1,200 rupees.
The whole new adventure seemed like dejavu, and it reminded me of my impatient travels around Bagan's 2,000 plus temples; and Siem Reap's Angkor Wat temples.The same scurrying around, beating the heat and dehydration, snapping everywhere.
My favorite: the rock temple called Isurumuni Rajamaha Viharaya which dates as far back as 207BC. I also like the Twin Ponds, although it seems to be drying fast. Several others are being renovated - like the gigantic Abhayagiri Dagoba - the "Hill of Protection" - so they will be spectacular once done.
After the temple visits, I took a walk around the "city" - a term that I shall use for Anuradhapura with reservation. I love the people though. Such friendly locals. I do make an interesting sight around here. They keep taking 2nd looks, like I was Matt Damon. LOL. Then an innkeeper at the National Museum passed by me and said, "Japanese!" Not again! Hahaha! That was the 2nd time today. Earlier, I was supposed to be Thai!

It is 206 kilometers from Colombo to Anuradhapura!

This is the Eye in the Sky!

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