Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sri Lanka - Visions From An Exotic Isle Part 2

Chanting for faith!

Here are more images from Sri Lanka. Immigration formalities at Bandaranaike International Airport are fast and no frills. In fact, I wasn't asked a single question. It's a fancy-free arrival, but departure is another story. Arrival area is like a mad house - congested, frenetic, chaotic. You can ask for a free map just outside the main lounge - at the Ceylon Tourist Information booth (they still refer to Sri Lanka as Ceylon). This map is folded several times over so don't be surprised if you are handed a match-sized brochure.

This is the Eye in the Sky!

A novice monk in Kelaniya's Raja Maha Vihara Temple.

Miniature Water Garden, Polonnaruwa: an elaborate network of water pavilions, pools, courtyards and water courses, laid out in the last quarter of the 5th century, then expanded during the post-Kasyapa Period (10th-13th century). It isn't so "miniature", to be honest!

One of the hundreds of enclaves in Sigiriya before the hike up the hill gets hairy!

Miscalculated dimensions. A Catholic church at the Island of Duwa near Negombo.

Details of a gopuram at a Hindu Temple along Galle Road in Colombo.

Sri Jinaratana Bhikku Abhyasa Vidyalana, a relatively unknown Hindu temple near the more popular Gangaramaya Temple. 100 rupee entrance fee, an overzealous guide and a free "protection guide" given to me made this visit memorable. My tuktuk driver told me it was his first time there.

Painting at the Raha Maha Vihara Temple in Kelaniya.

Rooming in, Ruvanveli Mahaseya. 200 rupees to see the holy Bodhi Tree. Devotees gathered around and sang songs and recited hymns for this Bodhi Tree. it actually felt weird that people were singing to a tree - very Avatarish! Maybe James Cameron got his idea from here!

Details of a stair at the Moonstone 1, 7th century A.D.

Dancing dwarves, 6th century A.D.

School children after classes.

A must buy is the $50 Round Ticket (above) that any tourist who wants to visit the Cultural Triangle must purchase. Validity is 14 days from the date of first use. I bought mine in Anuradhapura (Archaeological Museum), but should be available in Kandy, Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dambulla. On top of this $50 ticket, you have to pay entrance fees to several other temples and sites (Temple of Tooth Relic, Peradeniya Botanical Garden, Dambulla Caves, etc.) Yup, you better get used to this endless practice of paying everywhere. Furthermore, you see donation boxes at every turn, nook and cranny of these heritage sites. My wallet was bleeding for the whole duration. And I was actually waiting for a tourist officer to remind me that I have yet to pay for the Sri Lankan air that I breathed. :)

Overgrown baby at the Ruvaneli Mahaseya (Sri Lanka's most venerated stupa) in Anuradhapura.

1 comment:

Trotter said...

Hi Eye! What a gorgeous new post!!

Curious about Halicarnassus? Blogtrotter Two has it... ;) Enjoy and have a great weekend!!