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C. The Palace Complex of King Parakramabahu



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D. Shiva Devalaya



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Posted (edited)

Many bicycles are on the main path between the monuments

 

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Edited by xelas
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E. Details at Thuparama Image House



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F. Watadage



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G. Nishshanka Latha Mandapaya



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Posted (edited)

Those monuments are all in very ruined state, and not colourful at all (my personal opinion, disagree at will ;) ). Luckily a visitor here and there have brought in some colours.

 

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Edited by xelas
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H. Pabulu Vihara



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I. Rankoth Vihara



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Bringing flowers is very buddhist thing.

 

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Posted (edited)

To me, this is the most impressive of all monuments in Polonnaruwa.

 

J. Gal Viharaya

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Even the resident monkeys have adopted that smiling and relaxing attitude.

 

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Edited by xelas
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Posted (edited)

A few more impressions about visiting Polonnaruwa:

 

- we have arrived at 09:30 and have visited the (small) museum first. Yet we have finished our exploration only 5 hours later! And that is by using a car to move between above mentioned monuments, which are not all that exists there;

- having a guide would increase our knowledge of this site (temporarily for me) but it would also increase the time spent on the grounds, and boy, I was more than ready to leave after those 5 hours;

- it is hot after 10:00 and since hats have to be removed when entering on the grounds of sacred places, an umbrella is much more usable. Also one has to remove its shoes; using flip flops with thick socks (the Japanese style) is the most comfortable option;

- storing your shoes in a plastic bag, it is recommended to carry the shoes with you; I would not leave mine outside.

- if one does not arrive with a car then rent a guide with a tuktuk; you will thank me after the end of your tour for that excellent advice ;);

- arrive as early as possible; paying the entry fee and just breezing through the complex in order to catch the afternoon safari at Minneriya is a very touron thing to do;

- leave your long lens in the backpack.

Edited by xelas
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And to end this day, a couple of photos along the way back to Habarana:

 

 

The local farmers are using those hides to watch out for the elephants

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Old British heritage

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Newly built stupa

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Luckily directional signs are all also in English

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Loving the report, excellent photos.

 

Will you visit Polannaruva again? Doesn't look like a must-see site to me, but I could be wrong.

 

So, why the hide to watch out for elephants? Curious of its purpose.

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@@Gilgamesh

 

Not likely. Mainly because there is another similar site nearby, Anuradhapura, which we have skipped on this trip, and would visit it on the next occasion. And myself, I am not among the greatest fans of old historical ruins.

What is and what is not a "must see" very much depends on the interest of each individual.

 

There are corridors on where the elephant herds are moving between the several tanks, but sometimes they do stray away from those paths. Villagers can distract the herd from trampling over their paddy fields.

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Fantastic story Alex and thanks for genearting interest outside the usual safari destinations.

My apologies for trying to discourage you from driving in Sri Lanka in your planning stage. You did well with some common sense. But that still has not convinced me to drive during my next trip to India ! I think once you get used to the "chaffeur" it's difficult to move back !! But of course we speak and do understand many of the local languages in the subcontinent, so perhaps we can "bond" with the drivers in India better.

The scenes are very very reminiscent of wetlands of Bengal, Assam and Kerala in India. Including the shot of your dinner. Were you served on banana leaf ?

Elephant human conflict is a big problem in India. Elephants are desperate as all the old corridors are being taken over. I wonder how the folks in Sri lanka are resolving that.

By the way that little shrine belongs to Lord Ganesha the Siddhidata : means The One who brings succes to your life and work. So it was a good idea for you to start your day with homage to Lord Ganesha and you had success !!

Keep going mate !!

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I enjoy the old monuments a lot, Zvezda captures those just as well as animals. I was a bit confused about the umbrella at first I admit, but I missed the part about having to take one´s hat off. :)

 

How crowded are the cultural sights?

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@@Chakra

Don't worry my friend, you and many others have given me the same warning. Being a little stubborn myself I have disregarded them all :D and it seems that Lord Ganesha has been smilling on us the entire trip :) !

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@@michael-ibk

 

They were quite crowded, because of the school holidays in Sri Lanka. Foreign visitors were outnumbered about 1:10 against local visitors, and thus those sites looked much less touristy through my eyes.

Arriving early, before official opening time, is very important as thus one gets a head start on the larger crowds that arrives by buses after the breakfast. It also means having cooler air for longer time.

This is valid both for historical sites as also for national parks.

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Post #63 should be accompanied by below text:

 

 

Finishing with Polonnaruwa we passed by Minneriya NP at around 3 PM (15:00) when the afternoon safaris started. Whoa!! That was a proper human zoo, dozens of big tourist buses outside, hundreds of jeeps and persons inside the reception area. Most definitively not where I could »survive« more than 5 minutes. As I have read that nearby Kaudulla NP has significantly fewer visitors, I drove in that general direction. Finding the road, that we managed, but finding the entry gates we did not! Not a problem as it was a nice drive on a very narrow side road (paved). Exiting on the other side we bought our regular ration of King Coconut water (in the coconut) and another fine day in Sri Lanka was over.

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2/8 - 4/8 – Habarana / Cultural Triangle (continued)

 

 

Second full day was dedicated to Sigiriya in the morning, and Kaudulla in the afternoon. My original plan was not to enter Sigiriya World heritage Site at all but to find Pidurangala ancient forest monastery which lies close and offers a great view over the Sigiriya Lion Rock. I have seen the entry dirt road but have decided to drive by. The weather/light was not so good in any case.

Arriving at the parking lot it was already filled with cars, minivans and buses. Plenty of visitors, and most of them locals, school kids. I have read somewhere that one can enter the gardens without paying the steep entry fee. Not anymore the case. After some deliberating what to do we have decided to pay and to enter, and maybe I will do the climbing myself (Zvezda was up the rock some 25 years ago and she has had zero interest to repeat the experience).

 

 

The map of the site

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Is there anything it IS allowed?

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Ladies ...

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... and gentlemen

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The Lion Rock ...

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... is everyone's fist target

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Posted (edited)

The gardens were lovely although I have hoped for more birds. Zvezda insisted that she would give me the opportunity to climb the stairs on my own. She would wait for me in the deep shade of a big tree in the garden. So we have divided the gear; she got the long lens and mine was the wide lens. This is what she has "found" in the gardens:

 

Not so green Green Garden Lizard

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A very common Common Kingfisher

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White Waterpond Lilly

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Toque Macaque having old-fashion haircut

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Shikra in the tree

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A strange fruit

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Edited by xelas
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Myself, I have tackled my task and the first set of stone steps with determination, until I have reached the proper starting point where the iron ladders can be seen. There were hundreds of visitors in a line which moved up very slowly, all the way up the steps to the top of the hill. Anyone knowing my »linephobia« knows what happened next. Zvezda's waiting was not that long, after all :) !!

 

 

First sets of stone steps were easy

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Natural-made entry

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More steps, line is starting to build up - reached my Point Of Return

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There are some seriously steep staircases there

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Only the stone cuts have remained

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From the garden, Zvezda has taken these two photos that underlines my previous photos and comment:

 

Part of the staircase from distance ...

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... and a closer view

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We were strolling around the gardens for some time, looking for any good photo opportunity.

 

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Lovely monkey portraits. Do you have any idea what the sign with the handcuffs means? Very puzzled by that one.

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