Sri Lanka: a lost world from the depths of centuries
Anuradhapura - a historic city
Founded in the 4th century BC, the city became a kind of light for the Buddhist religion - this is how the name of the star in the constellation Scorpio stands for, after which it was named. When Buddhism came to earth scorched by the sun's rays, the monks chose this place, believing it worthy to keep sacred relics. The settlement itself absorbed the halo of holiness, and as a sacred sign, the architects chose the circle - the embodiment of the wheel of samsara moving through the swirl of birth and death. This figure is at the heart of the city's philosophical concept: circular platforms with famous sculptures.Photo tripbucket.com
An impregnable plateau, rising 370 meters above sea level and about 170 meters above the surrounding plain in the very center of the island of Sri Lanka, appeared at the end of the 5th century AD and served as a protective fortress during Kashyapa king ruling. Around the cliff, wide gardens were laid out, in which almost the first fountains in the world acted, and the monumental Lion Gate led to the top of the plateau.
The fortress itself is made from volcanic magma. Now travelers can contemplate the ruins of the palace, which is pierced by threads of gardens and reservoirs. Incidentally, according to UNESCO, this complex, which was listed in 1982, is an perfect example of urban planning.Photo alecring.ca
Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
City of Polonnaruwa keeps silent stone walls. The most famous attraction of these places is the Gal Vihara temple, which contains four statues of Buddha. Here Siddhartha meditates, his eyes are closed, a halo carved from stone reminds of holiness, and the silhouettes of a lion and lightning have eaten into the throne. The second monument is Buddha surrounded by Hindu gods. Deity with arms crossed on his chest is the third figure of the temple; The Buddha is traditionally depicted with crossed legs to hint at the lotus position, and this atypical figure found in the Stone Temple makes scholars question whether Buddha's disciple Ananda is depicted here? Finally, the fourth statue, stunning in gigantic dimensions - 14 meters in height - the reclining Buddha leaving the physical body to go into the state of nirvana.
Leaving the city gates behind, travelers find themselves in the monastery complex of Alahana Pirivena - earlier this place was used to scatter the ashes of representatives of the royal family and clergy in the wind. Tired of numerous prescriptions, guests of the city can rest, contemplating the so-called "Sea of Parakrama" and imagining how one of the rulers of Polonnaruwa - Parākramabāhu the Great - united five artificial lakes into one large reservoir.Photo lonelyplanet.com
Sinharaja Forest Reserve
Sinharaja, also called the "Lion Kingdom", serves as a refuge for the rarest animals and birds. There is an imprint of mystery on everything unknown - so it happened with forest reserves, the creation of which is a mystery covered in darkness. The locals jokingly say that Sinharaja has existed forever...
If you find yourself in a nature reserve, be prepared for discoveries and do not be alarmed if a purple-faced white-bearded body rushes up to you. Don't be in a hurry to be amazed - we are talking about a very rare species of monkeys that love to scream shrilly as soon as you crossed their personal space. And if you're looking for chestnut-chested artisanal cuckoos, look out for the bright red spot surrounding the eye. At the same time, do not forget about the blue magpies - however, the combination of a blue torso, a blue-white tail and a red beak and paws is hard to miss. If you have familiarized yourself with typical representatives of Sri Lankan birds, try to find the green-billed clawed cuckoo - its brown-black plumage is complemented by a crow's beak - these birds can be found only in Sinharaja.Photo transindus.co.uk
Sacred city of Kandy
The main treasure that is definitely worth seeing when visiting the city of Kandy is the Tooth of Buddha. The temple where the relic is located is open from dusk to dawn, and pilgrims come bringing the prescribed offerings: in the morning they put lotus petals and juice at the altar, in the afternoon they bring rice with curry, and in the evening - sweets. Observing the rituals, one wonders: how did the Buddhist shrine get to Sri Lanka?
The story weaves numerous legends into the following plot. After receiving enlightenment, Prince Siddhartha, better known as Buddha, traveled with sermons. They say that Buddha visited Sri Lanka three times. After his death, the Indian students had a tooth from their teacher. However, there was no respect for the relic: they even tried to check the tooth for strength, beat with a hammer, but the sacred object remained unharmed. After the assassination of the ruler Guhaziv, the enemies of Buddhist philosophy coveted the shrine, and the daughter of the murdered king Hemamal, hiding a tooth among her luxuriant hair, went to Anuradhapura, where she gave the relic for safekeeping to King Sirimenghavann. Only in the 16th century, the tooth was transported to the city of Kandy, placing it in a two-tier tomb, around which the Inner Temple was rebuilt some time later.Photo roughguides.com
Old Town of Galle and its Fortifications
As a child, fantasy lovers must have imagined how they get on an expedition and find the mythical treasures of King Solomon. They can only be discovered by magic, or by being transported by a time machine to the ancient city of Galle, which once bore the name Tarshish. It was from here that the treasures were brought to the legendary king.
The city of Galle, located in Sri Lanka, from the moment of its foundation was a famous center of trade, until the Portuguese put forward claims on its land. In the 17th century, the latter were expelled by the Dutch: the Dutch street names in Halle still remind of the colonialists. However, the old rulers of the city are not forgotten, and the features of the Portuguese style are imprinted in the architecture of the city: each building, regardless of whether it is a residential building or a prayer temple, is crowned with columns erected on open balconies. The Dutch, in turn, showed imagination and supplemented the city buildings with a wall, and the material for it - granite and black basalt - was specially brought from Africa.Photo jetwinghotels.com
Golden Temple of Dambulla
Local places heard their first prayers 24 centuries ago: monks from different neighborhoods came to the ancient city of Dambulla to meditate. A dark cave, built above the green jungle, rises above the urban space.
... When the Indian king Valagama escaped from the troops invading his kingdom, he spent fourteen long years with the monks in the dark caves there. The exiled ruler was gaining strength and, having gathered an army, returned the kingdom rightfully belonging to him. Out of gratitude to the locals who did not abandon him in difficult times, Valagama turned the caves into a temple by painting symbolic paintings on the stone walls. And near the makeshift temple he put a stone on which he inscribed the injunction: the inhabitants of the city of Dambulla must bring food to the monks. In addition, food was to be placed next to the Buddha statues, of which there were about one hundred and fifty in the temple.Photo archaeological-tours.com
Highlands of central Sri Lanka
On the mountain range and the Knuckles range, reaching an altitude of 1800 meters and visually reminiscent of the bones of the fingers, forests are spread. Some peaks permeate the air space, rising to the 2500-meter mark. One of the places to see is the Wilderness Peak, washed by waterfalls and worshiped by Buddhists who ascend Mount Peak to Adam with thorny trails. Unbelievable, but it is a fact: a few years ago, they found a frog called Candy Gnome, considered rare in the world. Researchers were amazed by the discovery, because people were convinced that the amphibian found belonged to extinct animals.
Cover photo pinterest.com