Sri Lanka: Sigiriya and Polonnaruwa
Ayubowan = hello or goodbye. When people say ayubowan, they put their hands together and bow. What a nice way to greet someone!
Ayubowan from Sigiriya, Today we climbed this huge rock. It was amazing. Sigiriya is a very attractive place to visit that is why crowds of people come here everyday.
In AD 477, having seized the throne for himself by orchestrating the assassination of his own father, Prince Kassapa needed a safe place to defend himself from his brother. The Sigiriya rock was a natural fortress. Kassapa decided to carve it into the shape of a lion and build a palace on top of it.
Sigiriya is also famous for its ancient frescoes. It is a sequence of frescoes popularly known as Sigiriya Damsels. In the past it was a huge mural painted on the rock showing five hundred young women who used to be Kassapa’s concubines. Today, only 21 portraits can be seen. They are now one of the most iconic images on the island. You can find them in many souvenir stores. We are not allowed to take pictures of the original paintings, so I decided to add a picture of a reproduction:
Here we are on the Lion Platform. Two huge lion paws flank the entrance to the final staircase. The paws are all that remains from the statue of a gigantic lion. We remember that lion is a symbol of Sinhalese people, especially Sinhalese royalty.
Ania, one of our group members, is a very brave and adventurous young woman.
And now a short tour of Polonnaruwa, the second capital of Sri Lanka. At the heart of the ancient city lies the Royal Palace complex:
Polonnaruwa was a capital city of Sri Lanka from the 11th to the 13th century.
We are now on the Quadrangle, the religious heart of the ancient city. Our first group picture!
The Vatadage (circular relic house) is one of the most photographed ancient buildings in Sri Lanka.
There is a moonstone at the bottom of each entrance. Everybody who wants to enter the shrine has to leave his/her shoes beside the moonstone, the symbol of our spiritual purification.
This massive reclining Buddha is 14 m long. Altogether, there are four statues of the Buddha carved in the same granite rock.
This ancient temple that was used as a Hindu temple outside….
and a Buddhist temple inside:
I am ending this post with two pictures showing children coming back from school. All children in Sri Lanka wear school uniforms, most of them are plain white.