"Ancient Anuradhapura" Anuradhapura by shawnbrito
Anuradhapura Travel Guide: 94 reviews and 269 photos
This was a journey that I've been waiting to for a long long time. Although it was organized by my in-laws, it just happen to fall within an inconvenient weekend. But nevertheless it happened. I packed my bags and headed to the North central province with my wife and in-laws hoping to get back in-time for my wildlife classes.
[Into the first hour]
Our journey begins at 4AM. Pack bags / leave home/ head to in-laws/ eat breakfast, jump in Coach and sit happily ogling at the starry sky.. For once, I wasn't driving as the in-laws mounted to a dozen, hence we hired a personal Coach to take us there. The first hour was mostly dark as we went through Malabe, Biyagama, Weliweriya and eventually hit the Kandy road.
[Into the second hour]
Heading along the Kandy road, I notice the lack of vehicles which sometimes surprises me as this is a major trunk-road connecting half the Island to Colombo... What surprises me more is the fact that its still a 3 lane highway! (1 1/2 lanes for outgoing while 1 1/2 for incoming vehicles).
After a few minutes, we turned left and took a short cut which was familiar from past experiences, however he didn't stop at the 10km junction point as I did in my past experiences :) heee heee
[Into the 3rd hour]
In the middle of nowhere, driving down hundreds of paddy fields to my left and right, I drift slowly into dreamland.. But to be awakened a few minutes later by wifey as snacks were been served in the coach.. The once flat landscape is now dotted with hills and valleys which has received its glow thanks to the early morning sunrise... Still half asleep the food tastes good, but my urge to sleep overwhelms me and once again I'm in dreamland.
[Into the 4th hour]
We are somewhere close to the Anuradhapura district, or was it Sigiriya? Nevertheless I was fully awake and had no clue where I was. The scenery hasn't changed much from what I had seen earlier however the climate started to change as we begin to decent gently into the low lands of Anuradhapura or Sigiriya.. Small hills abruptly rise and fall into the flat lands marking a distinct edgy landscapes, while the paddy fields have grown in number as well as the shrub-lands.
[Into the 5th hour]
We get lost...!! However we stop and ask directions as there are hundreds crossroads at every town.. A few minutes into the hour, and the coach stops so we may stretch our legs before we continue the long road ahead.. As anyone would expect these roads are quite strait. For hundreds of Km, you would find mostly strait road systems within the Northern provinces of Sri Lanka.
[Into the 6th hour]
After a quick tea break we continue on our journey to arrive in Sigiriya! A small town located in the Southern portion of Anuradhapura.. Close by, a massive rock structure that was used by King Kashapa to hide from his broth Mogalan stand up like a giant 400m loaf of bread amongst the greenery...
King Kashapa, a prince at the time killed his own father for the thrown in the 4th century AD and fled to Sigiriya to take refuge in the Rock. The Rock is visible in all directions and is a great lookout tower for anyone seeking shelter.. However his elder brother Mogalan who was the rightful heir to the throne fled to India to raise an army to recapture the Kingdom which was stolen unrighteously... However during the decades Mogalan spent obtaining an army, Kashapa spent lavishing his Rock kingdom with luxuries from over over the world. From Lilly gardens to Swimming pools to Conference halls to Air-conditioning - he had it all. Not to mention the hundreds of women.
Once Mogalan did raise an army and came back to fight Kashapa, the tables have turned and Kashapa had grown lethargic. Its recorded in history that during battle, Kashapa's Elephant while advancing forward smelled water nearby and detoured away from the battle field - mistaking this action as a retreat, soldiers fled the scene leaving Kashapa behind. Once Kshapa noticed the dismay it was too late. As his brother was nearing, Kashapa lifted his dagger and drew it into his neck and fell to his death..
As a predominantly Buddhist country, Anuradhapura displays the largest concentration of devotees amongst the countries population. Its culturally significance draws pilgrims from all parts of the country.
This particular temple houses the oldest boa tree bought by monks from India.
Its recommended for those visiting these temple grounds to be dressed & behaved properly as such is not accepted by the local community.
[Sigiriya - The Climb]
As many people all over Sri Lanka has made the journey to Sigiriya, we attempt to haul ourselves up the giant rock. I keep wondering why someone would ever want to live in a rock?.. However as the path unfolds, I see structure upon structure that look like brick and stones. The fortress was once indeed a giant fortress that housed servants, elders, concubines, wives, cooks, gardeners, guards, horses, etc... To top it all, he had the mansion built with primitive air-conditioning by channeling and harnessing the power of water vapor through a series of pipes and drains. It was good that we had read about the structure and we knew to keep quiet when approaching the many Hornet nests...
[3 hours go by]
Once we reached the summit after 2 hours, it begins to rain! With Absolutely no shelter around, I quickly took my Photo's and headed strait for the nearest tree that grew in the gardens near the swimming pool which was built by the king to irrigate the gardens below.
[Journey back down]
As I look back on that day, I'm definitely in favor to reclaim victory of that climb once again. The paths were never dangerous as there were railings and stairs to accommodate the 2hour climb.
[Heading to Anuradhapura]
Once we reached the valley below half dead, we sought out a vendor with cool water bottles! - $1 for a bottle which I quickly grabbed and poured it down my throat since the heat of day has well set in.
Looking into the trees, I noticed a giant squirrel looking for food. However from the look of things, THIS giant was quite acquainted with the generous humans as they passed along.
Once I got back in the coach, my mind was set on the hotel as I needed to cool my head. The blistering heat can indeed dehydrate you within 5 hours, hence I needed something to cool my blood. As the midday heat rises to 33'C in the shade, you will be longing for some Cool Coke which can be purchased from shops that are unfortunately not nearby.. Although a can of Coke is well under $1, you will certainly be looking for change as many of the shops appear to not have any change!!!
I have yet to see a shop which is fully competent at changing $20 without bashing an eyelid :)
An ancient cultural triangle that displays centuries of rich culture throughout the island. Its was just after lunch that our team composing of family and relatives decided to visit the famous Mihintale temple, which by all means was quite an adventure. The climb yielded a minor work out as we slowly moved along the edges avoiding the slipper stone which were wet from rain fall. Once we reached the garden we observed the many ruins that have befallen during the many centuries gone by. Once I completed my gawking and photography I continued to journey with my wife along the slippery trail towards the temple.
At the base of the temple, I noticed a few shops that offered the basic refreshments that would quench our thirst. Unfortunately it was getting dark and we decided to head all the way up as some of our relatives were in a hurry to get to the top.
As most of the journey was on wheels, I was at disadvantage as I never managed to get out and explore the wilderness completely. Its reported that Elephants and Leopards are quite common I have yet to see one in the wild in Anuradhapura... While Peacock can be seen right throughout the landscape, we didn't get close to anyone until we almost ran over one crossing a connecting jungle road.
A few Large Wildlife species are mentioned below for quick reference.
2. Dear (3 species)
3. Leopards, Fishing Cats
4. Scorpions, Vipers, Cobras, Kraits, Pythons
5. 150 Unique bird species
6. Jackals, Rabbits, Wildboar, Squirrels
The above Wildlife can be observed at the National parks situated within the Anuradhapura district. I had the pleasure of meeting baby scorpions but didn't have the opportunity to photograph as I was not fully equipped.
- Pros:Ancient ruins, Good photographic site, Rich culture
- Cons:Hot and humid
- In a nutshell:An ancient cultural triangle that displays centuries of rich culture throughout the island
shawnbrito's Related Pages
Anuradhapura Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "The Ancient City of Anuradhapura"
- "First Ceylonese Capital"
- "The first great capital"
- "Ancient Capital of Sri Lanka (Ceylon)"
- "The Ancient city...."
- "The world’s mightiest masses of monumental masonry"
- See All...
- Things to Do in Anuradhapura
- Hotels in Anuradhapura
- Transportation in Anuradhapura
- Restaurants in Anuradhapura
- Shopping in Anuradhapura
- Warnings and Dangers in Anuradhapura
- See All...
Explore the World
Badges & Stats in Anuradhapura
- 0 Reviews
- 3 Photos
- 0 Forum posts
- 1 Comments
- See All Stats
- See All Badges (2)
Have you been to Anuradhapura?Share Your Travels
Latest Activity in Anuradhapura
Photos in AnuradhapuraSee All Photos (3)
Top 5 Pages
- Hambantota 5 reviews, 18 photos
- Nuwara Eliya Intro, 5 reviews, 10 photos
- Sigiriya 3 reviews, 8 photos
- Sri Lanka 4 reviews, 6 photos
- Horton Plains 2 reviews, 5 photos
FriendsSee All Friends (1)
Latest Anuradhapura hotel reviews
- Riverina Hotel
- 160 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 7, 2013
- Palm Garden Village Hotel
- 157 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: May 11, 2013
- Nuwarawewa Rest House
- 21 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 10, 2013
- Boa Vista Guest House
- 15 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Jan 7, 2013
- Milano Tourist Rest
- 102 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 22, 2013
- Galway Miridiya Lodge
- 25 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Mar 23, 2013
- Hotel Shalini
- 38 Reviews & Opinions
Latest: Apr 20, 2013