Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Arriving in Anuradhapura

140km later and a quick nap (my mind eventually gave in) we arrived in the sacred city of Anuradhapura. The capital of Buddhism. A military town. The Sacred Bo Tree. And lunch. Before I collapse, I'm well overdue my daily dose of curry by now. 

Revived we venture out and make some new friends. We're not in Colombo anymore:

The Sri Maha Bodhi, the Sacred Bo Tree, is the oldest living tree in documented history. Grown from a sapling of the original Bo tree in India under which the Buddha gained enlightenment, it was brought to Anuradhapura in the 3rd century BC. Visiting the tree is an essential part of the visit. As with all sacred areas in Sri Lanka you take off your shoes and must have your knees and shoulders covered. It costs 500 rupees per adult (approximately 3 euros). We seem to be a little bit of a tourist attraction ourselves as the only Europeans among the pilgrims. Gorgeous Sri Lankan children run alongside us grinning and asking us our names.

Walking to the Sacred Bo Tree

The Sacred Bo Tree

Lighting candles after our visit for good fortune and health

It's early evening but it feels like we've done so much already. Dinner calls in the Grand Hotel. A definite recommendation for any visitor. A feast of spicy omelettes and curries (chicken, pumpkin, dalle, curry, coconut, green bean) with basmati rice and poppadoms. Followed by banana fritters. Accompanied by banana milkshakes and papaya juice. It's a sacred city so no alcohol...mon dieu.

I wish the photo below did our feast justice:

And that's it, day one of the cultural triangle complete. I'd waffle on about the heat and how I'm being eaten alive by mosquitos, but you don't want to hear that do you? I'm surrounded by a little cloud of mosquito repellant spray. But it's all worth it. And hopefully I'll get over myself and adjust to life in the real tropics.

Next stop: The World Heritage Site of Sigiriya's rock fortress. It's a one hour climb to the top so I better make sure I have my egg hoppers in the morning. Good night Anuradhapura. 

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