Sunday, April 21, 2013

Sri Lanka Attractions Part 1/2

I've split the attractions into 2 parts cos there's too many photos.

Pinnewala Elephant Orphanage - it's located between Colombo and Kandy and has about 75 elephants. Most of these elephants were abandoned or orphaned. They have a large area to roam and they're taken down to the nearby river to bathe nearly every day by the mahouts. Unfortunately, when we went there, there was a huge downpour the day before and the river was very deep so the elephants weren't allowed to go for their daily bath :( 
 Baby elephant - the one on the right is 9 months old and the one on the left is 6 months old. They're kept separate from the rest of the herd - dunno why though!
 The baby elephants are really hairy and look like rambutans.
 This is Sama, the lame elephant who had her front right foot blasted off when she stepped on a land mine. They've tried fitting a prosthesis over that foot but she keeps shaking it off and refusing to wear it. Her other leg is all bent (looks like she has a bad case of rickets) cos she puts most of her weight on it and her back is all scoliosed +++.
 Random buffalos along the way to Sigiriya
 Sigiriya Rock Fortress - one of the UNESCO world heritage sites and one of the most visited attractions in Sri Lanka. It's a 200m tall rock in the central Matale district of Sri Lanka and was an ancient rock fotress built by King Kassyapa (AD477). It is an elaborately planned complex fortres and city containing water ways and reservoirs.
 One of the old caves where the monks used to pray.
Frescoes on the rock fortress - unfortunately most were rubbed away because they were deemed too distracting for the monks meditating there...

 Most of the paint has faded away
 The Mirror Wall, which was said to be very well polished with resin, so shiny that the king could see his own reflection when he walked by it.
 View from the top - ancient waterways and gardens

 Lion's paw - right on top of the fortress is the remnants of  a huge lion - the paw itself is super huge and it is a steep (and very hot!) climb on some very rickety metal steps all the way up the rock.
 Cobra hood - which is another rock formation
 Monkey with long tail - can't remember what its called
 View from one of our hotels - Sri Lanka has many huge man made reservoirs and this was one of them.
 Dambulla Cave Temple - this is before the climb up to the cave temples (which was probably 1/4th the climb up the Sigiriya.

 Lots of monkeys on the way up - don't touch them or you'll have to get a rabies IVIG from a local hospital!

 The entrance to the Dambulla caves - it's 5 large caves filled with Buddhist statues
 You'll have to remove your shoes before going into the temple - and apparently the stone gets very hot during the afternoon (went there in the morning, so it wasn't so hot)

 There are 3 Hindu gods in one of the caves.
 The etchings on the side of the rock are carved by the monks, to prevent water from dripping into the complex when it rains.
 Lily pond outside the caves - the flower on the bottom right is the blue lotus, which is Sri Lanka's national flower. (I aways thought that blue lotus was some Chinese thing, because of the Tintin comic books!)
 Bohdi tree where Buddha sat and gained elightenment
 Monkey chilling and getting his fleas picked off.
 Hawkers selling ice cream (didn't eat cos I'm scared of getting gastroenteritis), and flower offerings.
Temple of the Tooth - In Kandy where it's marginally cooler (cos it's 480m above sea level), there's a temple which houses Buddha's tooth, which was brought to Sri Lanka hidden in someone's hair in the 16th century.  
Lots of vendors selling flowers for the worshippers - I never knew this but all the green stuff at the bottom are actually unopened lotus flowers - and when someone buys it, the vendors will manually open the lotus flower. 
An opened lotus flower
This is in the Tooth Temple, where there was a ceremony where by the locals can give offerings. 
I don't have a better picture of the tooth but it's kept inside these 7 gold boxes and you can queue up to get in and go near the tooth. 
Drummer at the ceremony

 The temple looks so peaceful here, but it's actually incredibly crowded. And it's really hot too. Actually everyday was really hot. I probably got my years supply of vitamin D in the 6 days I was here...
Super crowded inside the temple
 The temple's elephant - most of the temples have an elephant.
Elaborate decorations inside the temple
Super ancient scripture (I think it was >600 years old) inside the Tooth Temple

 Fire engine which we saw along the road. I think they don't have fire hydrants yet cos the country is so big. 

1 comment:

Bern said...

the baby elephants are such cutie pies! love!