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 approximately 170 meters above the surrounding plain in the heart of Sri Lanka, emerged at the end of the 5th century AD and served as the protective fortress of King Kasyapa, who ruled at that time. Wide gardens were made around the cliff, where almost the world's first fountains operated, and the monumental Lion's Gate led to the top of the plateau.
The fortress itself, rising on a "lion's rock", is made of volcanic magma. Now travelers can view the ruins of the palace, which pierce the threads of gardens and reservoirs. By the way, according to UNESCO, this complex, which was included in the 1982 list, is an perfect example of urban planning.Photo alecring.ca
Ancient City of Polonnaruwa
Polonnaruwa city keeps the stone walls silent. The most famous landmark here is the Temple of Gal Vihara, which housed four Buddha statues. Siddhārtha meditates here, his eyes are closed, holiness is reminiscent of a stone carved nimbus, and silhouettes of a lion and lightning are drawn 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; Buddha is traditionally depicted with his legs crossed to hint at the lotus posture, and is this atypical figure found in the Stone Temple making scientists doubt whether Buddha Ananda's disciple is depicted here? Finally, a giant statue of striking size - 14 meters high - is a reclining Buddha, leaving the physical body to go into nirvana state.
Leaving behind the city gates, travelers enter the Alanah Piriven Monastery Complex - previously a place used to dispel dust from the royal family and clergy. Tired of the many instructions, city guests can relax by watching the so-called "Parakram Sea", imagining that one of Polonnaruwa's rulers, Parakramabahu the Great, combined five artificial lakes into one large reservoir.Photo lonelyplanet.com
Singaraja Forest Reserve
Singaraja, also called the Kingdom of the Lion, is a haven for rare animals and birds. There is an imprint of mystery on all the unknown - so did the forest reserve, whose creation is a mystery covered in darkness. The locals jokingly say that Singaraja exists forever...
If you are in the reserve, be prepared for the discoveries and do not be afraid if the purple white-haired subtle body jumps up to you. Do not be surprised to hear - this is a very rare species of monkeys who love to scream shrillly once you have crossed their personal space. And if you're looking for chestnut bush cuckoos, look for the bright red spot that surrounds the eye. Do not forget about the blue forty - however, the combination of blue torso, blue-white tail and red beak and paws is hard not to notice. If you are acquainted with the typical representatives of the Lanka birds, try to find the green-spotted cuckoo - its brown-black feathers are complemented by a crow's beak - these birds can be found only in Singaraja.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, which houses the relic, runs from dusk to dawn, and the pilgrims come, bringing the appropriate offerings: in the morning they place lotus petals and juice at the altar, bring curry rice in the afternoon, and sweets in the evening. Watching the rituals, you wonder: How did the Buddhist shrine get to Sri Lanka?
he story weaves numerous legends into the next story. After receiving enlightenment, the prince Siddhārtha , better known by the name of Buddha, traveled with sermons. It is said that Buddha visited Sri Lanka three times. After his death, the Indian students had a tooth of their teacher. However, there was no reverence for the relic: the tooth was even tried to test for strength: it was beaten with a hammer, but the sacred object remained intact. After the assassination of the ruler of Gukhaziv, the enemies of Buddhist philosophy encroached on the shrine, and the daughter of the slain king Hemamal, concealing a tooth in the midst of lush hair, went to Anuradhapura, where he handed the relic to King Sirimenghavan for safekeeping. It was not until the sixteenth century that the tooth was transported to the city of Kandy and placed in a two-tiered tomb, around which an Inner Temple was rebuilt some time later.Photo roughguides.com
Galle: the old town and its fortifications
While being kids, fantasy lovers must have imagined how they would go on an expedition and find King Solomon's mythical treasures. It is possible to identify them only by means of spells, or by transporting 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 ofGalle, located in Sri Lanka, has been a well-known trading hub since its inception until Portuguese claims were made on its land. In the seventeenth century, the latter were evicted by the Dutch: the colonialists were still reminded of the Dutch street names in Galle. However, the old rulers of the city are not forgotten, and the features of the Portuguese style are etched in the architecture: every building, whether it is a dwelling house or a temple of worship, topped with columns erected on open balconies. The Dutch, in turn, discovered the fantasy 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
The first prayers were heard here 24 centuries ago: monks from different suburbs came to the ancient city of Dambulla to meditate. A dark cave, built over green jungle thickets, rises above the urban space.
… When the King of India, Valagama, escaped from the troops invading his kingdom, he spent fourteen years with the monks in the dark caves there. The exile lord gained strength and, by assembling an army, returned the kingdom that belonged to him by right. In gratitude to the locals who did not leave him during the difficult times, Valagama transformed the caves into a temple by painting symbolic paintings on the stone walls. And near the homemade temple he set up a stone on which he stamped the instruction: the people of Dambulla must bring food to the monks. In addition, food was to be placed near Buddha statues, which numbered 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.Photo pipandthecity.com
Cover photo pinterest.com