Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sri Lanka - Visions From An Exotic Isle Part 1

My walk towards Gal Vihara.

It was a visit that's meant for Colombo alone. Well, maybe, a day out from the capital? But as my trip drew closer, the itinerary became more and more ambitious. Almost like a pleasurable travel bootcamp. What's a guy to do? I didn't have enough time. There is never enough time. So an itinerary of one place became 11! And this island country of 25 million people enchants like no other.

It is, in fact, a small country that's fraught with political strife and a divisive stand between the Sinhalese and the Tamils up north. Military checkpoints are a dime a dozen. Public transportation is basic, and accommodations are relatively inexpensive everywhere except in Colombo (where options are limited and expensive). The lands have been parched by the sun for the last 3 months, but upon my arrival, the heavens blessed the concrete jungle with a little fall of rain. People were smiling up to their ears. In this post, I am featuring a 1st parter of random photos from this little gem that straddles the Indian Ocean.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

Circular Mounds. Potgul Vehara's associate stupa in Polonnaruwa. This was part of a library complex as renovated by Queen Chandrawathie.

Shhh. Buddha's sleeping, Dambulla Caves.

Indigenous dances featuring drum beaters and dancers, Kandy.

Bodhisattva image, 7th century A.D.

A pond outside Isurumuni Rajahamaha's Rock Temple in Anuradhapura.

Raja Mahavihara Temple, Kelaniya. About an hour's drive from Colombo.

One of the hundreds of buddhas in a Dambulla Cave.

Polonnaruwa blooms.

Quiet corner in Moragaswewa, Habarana. A garden beside Rukmali Hotel, near Sigiriya Junction in Habarana.

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