Day 1 First stop is Polonnaruva the capital of Sri Lanka from the 11th to the 13th century. Hinduism was the prevailing religion then. Before we moved around Lars could take picture of a wedding couple. Walled inner and outer city surrounded by monasteries and temples. Beautiful ruins of the kings castle, the parliament, man made lake called sea of Paramanraa a Pond with Lotus and rock cut temple with Buddha sculpture. It was a huge area so we got picked up by Yoosuf and driven to many sights. Rankoth Vehera a gold pinnacle stupa, was very impressive. Stupa is a mound-like hemispherical structure containing relics that is used as a place for meditation.
Woodcarving was interesting to see. They used teak, rosewood, ebony, cinnamon tree etc. So much too choose of!
After a nice lunch we were driven by a range rover to a national park for elephants, water buffalo, pi-cock and monkeys. We got very close to the elephants and they did not care. They just continued to eat grass. Often we saw them having baby elephants between there legs. We saw them all, finally, go into the water and it looked nice.
When stopped at a store that sold material in silk and cotton I bought a white blouse in light cotton. Also ordered a dress to be made in raw silk and delivered to the BAB the next day.
We had a nice dinner at the BAB situated in a nice surrounding. The mother was the chef and the daughter Asha arranged with the rest. There were air conditioner on our room but there were several national power cut during the evening. Asha came with candle light to us on the room
Day 2 Sigiriya (Lion Rock 200 meter high). Dates back from over 7000 years as a rock shelter mountain monastery with caves prepared and donated by devotees to the Sangha Buddhist monastic order. The garden city and the palace was built by Kashyapa 477-495 AD. After his death it was a monastery complex until 14th century. Yoosuf arranged with a guide for us and it was good. A lot of steps up to the garden on the top but first we passed threw the dams with water and gardens. They had a god system of irrigation. Then we had to start climbing for the top. We had a stop to see the beautiful fresco still there. Also pas threw the gate of the lion without the head. Nice to be on the top. I could stand on the highest spot rock. Getting down we met many school children. Cobra cliff was passed were the snake charmer made his show, not for free.
Lunch at a local food place was not super. The good thing was the fresh prepared fruit juices, ice-cream and buffalo yogurt with syrup.
Next stop was historical Dambulla with the ancient monastery. So we had to continue climbing and now very high steps up to the Buddhist cave temple. We had to leave our clip-clappers and learned from before we had socks with us for not getting burned on the hot ground. It was a beautiful temple with a lot of very old Buddha statues, wall painting, a temple for preying, chamber of Sacred Tooth relic and a workshop for repairing Buddhas. Getting down we chose the wrong way so we had to call Yoosuf to fetch us. He took us to the big Buddha so we could take some picture.
Back at the BAB we learned that the chef was not home so we had to get out and get some take away food and beer. We learned how they make kottu with roti bread, egg and vegetable. Also learned that if you choose chicken and they use chicken bone they cut the chicken with the bone and put it in the dish!
Also my dress was delivered by the tailor and his helper and I was happy.
Day 3 Old Ayurveda Village. Spice and Herbal garden; Herbs and Traditional Medicines. Tour in the garden were we saw vanilla plant and a lot of other plants and trees. Afterwords we got nice massage, that we paid for, preformed by male students. We bought some of their products like 4 month detox cure and spice tea.
Stop in Kandi for excellent lunch at an international restaurant with air-condition.
After some hours, in the comfortable air-conditioned van climbing up the mountain, we reached the tea plantation, Damro Tea. Yoosuf was quick to arrange a guided tour for us. Afterwords we bought tea. The van took us a little bit higher up to Maggie’s BAB. Here we had colder climate so Lars and I took a walk around the neighborhood. We had a great dinner and priced the cook. The beds were very bad, especially our friends but we slept well anyway. Lars managed to turn on the heater. It was quit unusual thing to do.
Day 4 Breakfast and off we go down the mountain, with a pit-stop at a little beautiful Hindu temple. We saw worshiper lighten up oil lamps and prayed. Passing threw Kandi again we stopped for a coffee brake and wow what a treat I got at a that café. Lunch buffet in Dambulla were local food was a little too spicy with chili. It was served in beautiful terracotta pots. Peter got rot-is as a special treat even if they did not have a la cart. Yoosuf remembered to stop at a shop for buying buffalo yogurt in terracotta vials. Before we were dropped at the harbor Yoosuf took us home to meet his family and a cup of tea.