World Trip 2016: Day 24 – Giritale to Kandy, Sri Lanka

Monday 1 August 2016.  Photos and Videos.
Highlights: Polonnaruwa Ruins, Dambulla Rock Temple, Kayanwala village (including canoe trip), and Herbs and Spices Garden (including back massage)

Today was an epic adventure with multiple activities to make up for those that were postponed yesterday.  In many ways I was lucky with yesterday’s postponements as one of those activities I would have missed since I was meeting up with the group later in the day.  

To make access to religious site easier today I put to good use my recently purchased sarong, yes I’ve finally gone native 🙂

We started off with the Polonnaruwa Ruins a 11th century city which is home the Royal Palace and Gal Vihara, a monument with four images of Buddha carved out of rock.  Apparently the Royal Palace was built at 7 stories height which if you think of it is a huge accomplishment for the times.  Another interesting point was that there were also Hindu artefacts as well given how Southern India occupied this area at one point.

Gal Vihara – Buddha Monument

There were also a lot of monkeys in the area, playing, eating and fighting.

Polonnaruwa Ruins

A visit to a local village was up next as we headed to Kayanwala village.  We changed from our luxury bus to the back of utes to get closer to the village.  Near the village we changed again onto canoes as we were paddled into the middle of a lotus field on the lake.  The paddlers of our canoe made us all hats out of the lotus plants and gave the women lotus flowers.  Very peaceful floating in a sea of lotus flowers.

We had a traditional lunch at the local village.  Our hosts made the entire lunch from food grown on their farm including the fish, coconut bread, rice, bananas, and pineapple.  The farm is totally sustained by itself and they use everything from the land for their needs including building of the house from local clay.

We then headed for the Dambulla Rock Temple which I briefly saw yesterday.  At the base is a Golden Temple built in the last 20 years and which several monkeys like playing around.  The real reason to come to Dambulla however is the caves with date back to the 1st Century BC.  This meant another hike up a hill as Buddhists put everything as high as they can to be nearer to heaven.  At the top there are 5 caves
containing many statues of Buddha.

Dambulla Rock Temple

Our last activity for the day was stopping off at Matele at the Luckgrove Spices, Herbs and Indigenous Medicine Garden.  The owner took us though the garden pointing out the different plants and what they do.  We got a demonstration of a plant that’s oil removes hair from your leg with no pain or heat whatsoever.  I could imagine a big market for this product back at home.  

At the conclusion trainee students gave us massages, everyone received a head massage and you could pick another area for them to work on, a lot of people in the group selected legs given all the hiking I however went for my back.  The students used a special oil which appeared to work wonders on easing tension, hopefully the effects last a few days.

On arrival into Kandy I realised it’s a lot smaller than I had imagined when listening to Test Matches play here.  We had to change from our bus to a smaller shuttle bus to access our hotel which is on a hill overlooking the city.  The hotel is very upscale.

Tomorrow’s mission for me is laundry followed by locating an ATM to strengthen my low rupee reserve.

About Nathan

A World traveller who has so far experienced 71 countries (76 by June 2023) in this amazing world.
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