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So here, we are on the ‘Day 16’ of 100 Happy Days. I hope you are not getting too bored of all those posts about Sri Lanka. I’m loving it here!
Last night I have travelled from Jaffna to Anuradhapura by famous “Queen of Jaffna” train. Railway services reopened only a month ago, after being nonfunctional for past 24 years, due to the civil war.
It was pitch black in Anuradhapura when we arrived. Being ‘The Luckiest Girl in the World‘, we have found a very nice ‘tuk tuk’ driver straight away. Who by they way was our driver today as well, when we were exploring ruins of the ancient Anuradhapura.
An amazing man, with a great family. After the sightseeing ruins of Anuradhapura he invited us to his house, so we had a glimpse or real local life.
Had some tea, while talking about the school and everyday problems. I was shocked to learn how much English classes cost. It seems like peanuts to us but for Sri Lankan reality, of not wealthy family, it is not, definitely education come pricy here!
Some little fun with the Girls, and yes, you guessed it. The youngest one (one on the left) is one naughty elf! I could see that straight away in her eyes and mischievous smile! The middle one is totally opposite, polite and calm, we spoke in English and she told me she wants to be a manager.
Well, seems like many Girls want to be managers here in Sri Lanka. The other one was a sweet cake I have met in Tamil village in Upavelli, you go Girls! :)
We had only few morning hours to explore Andaraphura. Derek had a plane to catch and I wanted to get to Sigiryja as soon as possible, so I can finally relax and do some more writing. Therefore instead of renting bikes we took the rickshaw and drove around from sight to sight.
You guessed it by now. What made me happy today was Anuradhapura sacred city. The weather was not perfect but everyone told us we are super lucky that it doesn’t pure with rain. So I guess I shouldn’t complain.
Anuradhapura Sacred City
I knew I wanted to visit this place way before I even knew I’m going to Sri Lanka.
Why? How come? National Geographic pictures of course! That goes without saying! I’m addicted to checking their website. And after investigating even further about the history and heritage of Anuradhapura I was hooked!
This sacred city was once a major centre of Sri Lanka civilization, Sinhalese civilization to be precise. Anuradhapura had a considerable influence on the development of Buddhism architecture during several centuries.
This fascinating city include enormous bell-shaped stupas. placed on circular foundations and surrounded by a ring of monolithic columns. Temples, remarkable monuments, palaces, and ancient drinking-water reservoirs.
Colossal and glorious stupas, called ‘dogabas’ are particularly specific to Sri Lanka. They are associated with the Buddha’s death and passage into Nirvana (parinirvana).
No, not Curt Cobain’s Nirvana, Buddhism nirvana as a concept of total liberation from the material world. As such, stupas are reminders of the Buddha and a symbol of the Nirvana to which every pious Buddhist aspires.
Those are the largest brick structures known to the pre-modern world! No wonder they are UNESCO World Heritage Site.
You should visit Sri Mahabodhi Tree which is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world – 2,200 years, you will see many people hands offerings and praying, and if you want to do offering yourself, just before the gate met this lovely lady and buy it from her.
Loha Prasada Brazen Palace and the Kuttam Pokuna Twin Ponds. Both a magnificent example of grande landscape architecture.
The Samadhi Statue of Lord Buddha in the state of deep meditation, after gaining enlightenment.
My favourite where all the stupas! Especially the ones painted white, they looked so majestic and due to the size made you feel so humble. Abhayagiri Monastery & Dagaba and Mirisavati Dagaba shouldn’t missed either.
The Jetavana Dagaba
An enormous brick dagaba, the Jetavana built by Mahasena. Back in 3rd Century AD to show of strength and support to the Sagaliya sect of the Buddhist order which he followed. Apparently the dagaba have a concrete base, and foundations of brick 12 m deep.
The Thuparama Dagaba
It is the first building of Anuradhapura. Built by King Devanampiya Tissa to enshrine the Buddha’s collar bone. Right after introduction of Buddhism to Sri Lanka.
Present “bell” shape is a fault to reconstruction that took place in 1840s, before it was “paddy heap”.
The monolithic pillars surrounding it upheld a circular roof making the shrine Vatadage. From 176 original pillars only 31 are standing now, nevertheless still impressive.
The Mahathupa – Ruwanweli Dagaba
Ruvanveliseya Dagaba was the most important monastery of the city due to guarding the traditions of Theravada Buddhism.
A thupa (relic chamber), is a dome built over sacred relics, the remains of the Buddha.
King Duttha Gamini built the Mirisavati and the magnificent Brazen Palace, yet he wanted something bigger and better for his greatest work. Ambitious man!
On top of this beautiful ‘bubble’ shaped Mahathupa was a ruby as big as a man’s fist. Today the Burmese people have donated a rock crystal, which is 2 feet high (60cm) to replace it.
Anuradhapura City of Monkeys
Did I mention that Anuradhapura sacred city is as well city of monkeys. Yes mokeys, not monks, you read that right.
Those crazy little things (some of them not so little) are omnipresent everywhere you go. And they are naughty too!
They eat flowers from hands offerings. They mess up with visitors. They play ‘hide and find’ game with the guards. They steal fruits from baskets left to the Lord Buddha. They jump like crazy on the tress that you think it is about to break!
But you must love those cheeky little devils! Come on, look at them, I know you are smiling!