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Archive for the ‘Buddhisim’ Category

Matara

Time to wrap up my time in Sri Lanka!  I did a ton of traveling in my last few months.  The new southern highway made it so much easier to go South, which meant that I was there more in my last four months in Sri Lanka than I was during the previous year and a half.  Win!

I became obsessed with passion fruit over the last few months.  This tasty concoction was at the Fortress.  I think it was iced tea, lemonade, and passion fruit juice.  Tasty, but very sweet.

Passionate Fruit Juice at the Fortress

One of my favorite spots–Dondra Lighthouse!

Sri Lankan coast from Dondra Lighthouse

These Buddhist monks at Pigeon Island Temple in Matara were wholly unimpressed that I spoke Sinhala, even after I told them that I learned from a fellow hamuduruwo.

Pigeon Island Temple in Matara

There’s not much left of the Matara Fort, but what is there is well-preserved.

Matara Fort

This mosque is right of off Galle Road.  It’s beautiful.

Matara Mosque

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Kandy

Kandy is probably the most overrated city in Sri Lanka.  Not that I’ve been to all of Sri Lanka’s larger cities yet–there’s still Trincomalee to explore and I suppose Hambantota.  But people always talk about Kandy.  To be honest, there’s really not much to see in Kandy.  Of course, there is the Temple of the Tooth, which is the most famous Buddhist Temple in Sri Lanka, and it is quite a nice temple.  And Kandy may have a bit more colonial flavor than say Colombo, but I would argue not as much as Nuwara Eliya.  That’s about all there is.  I’ve heard the botanical gardens are nice, as well as the University of Peradeniya, but I suppose I’ll leave those explorations for a future trip.

The Temple of the Tooth

Buddhist Flags with the Bodhi Tree in the background

When you do go to Kandy, I would highly recommend staying outside of the city.  Kandy is surprisingly congested and most of the hotels are mediocre, at best.  My recommendation for hotels in Kandy (or thereabouts): Bougan Villa.   My friend and I found Bougan Villa thanks to Rohan, my excellent driver, and I would admit that we were both somewhat skeptical before our arrival.  But when we pulled up the drive, we couldn’t have been happier.  Bougan Villa is a lovely respite from hours of driving on Sri Lanka’s crazy roads and your hosts, Shirlene and Jim, make you immediately feel at home .  The rooms are immaculate, the grounds lovely, and the food is amazing, whether it be Jim’s New Zealand egg breakfast, Shirlene’s Sri Lankan curry lunch, or their chef’s Western dinner–it was Italian cuisine for us.

Bougan Villa

Papya for Breakfast…mmm.

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A while ago, I visited Dambulla where I took pictures of this large Buddha.  When I came back to Colombo, people asked me if I liked the cave temple and I had no idea what they were talking about, but I actually missed the best part of the Golden Temple of Dambulla.  Fortunately, on a more recent visit, I was able to see the beautiful caves.  So far, it’s been one of my favorite sites in Sri Lanka.  It’s definitely worth the climb to the top of the hill.

Dambulla at Dusk. It was a great time of day to climb to the top of the hill.

The light on the buildings was amazing. The temple is built straight into the rock and is very old.

There are so many different Buddhas inside. Very interesting. Very pretty.

Some of this imagery reminded me of the symmetrical patterns of Islamic architecture. It was surprising to me because it's not as common in Buddhist or South Asian imagery.

Simple Beauty

 

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Ok…time to wrap up the Colombo Perahera Parade.

The parade is full of elephants.  About a week before the parade and a few days after, Victoria Park is full of them along with their mahouts.  One friend counted at least 75 elephants in the park and during the parade.  That’s a lot of elephants!

I don't think this is Tusker, the elephant who often lives at Gangaramaya Temple.

Then throughout the parade you’ll see the elephants wearing elaborate outfits like these.

They also sometimes carry electric Buddhas. It's so South Asian. I love it.

Podi Hamuduruwo. Or in Sinhala, "Little Monks."

Nearing the finale….

Another Electric Buddha

And the Grand Finale: Flame Throwers!

Flame Throwers on Stilts, no less!

Colombo Perahera is a quintessentially South Asian experience with so many different sights, sounds and colors.  Apparently, this year’s Perahera in Colombo was the largest it’s ever been.  Does this mean I can skip Kandy Perahera in August?  Hmm….

 

 

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A few weeks before the Colombo Perahera, the Seema Malaka Temple, which is now part of Gangaramaya Temple, but built by Geoffrey Bawa, Sri Lanka’s famous architect, is wrapped in lights.

Seema Malaka Temple

The Perahera is essentially a parade of Sri Lankan customs, culture and traditions and it lasts a long time.

Kandayan Dancers feature prominently in the Perahera.

Kandayam Drummer

Top Spinners: These guys spin tops on very tall sticks. Impressive.

Cane Dancers: they spin around in two different circles with long canes.

Cane Dancers running around--VERY Impressive

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Last week Colombo celebrated the Navam Maha Perahera.  While not as well known as Kandy’s annual August Perahera, Colombo’s Perahera was still cool and interesting.  I’ll probably cover it in several posts.  Gangaramaya Temple, which I’ve written about here and here, organizes Colombo’s Perahera and they started preparing weeks in advance.

Chinese Lanterns

Buddhist Flag

Chinese Lantern, Buddhist Flag, Buddha

 

 

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Continuing our walk around Colombo, we did a big circle to get back to my apartment.  Our next stop was Colombo’s famous Gangaramaya Temple.  I’ve been inside the temple before, but decided to pass this time as I didn’t want to take off my shoes and get my feet dirty.

Outside Gangaramaya Temple

This Buddha is surrounded by beautiful wood carvings.

Couples sneak a snuggle around Seema Malaka, the assembly hall for monks that was designed by Sri Lanka's famous Geoffrey Bawa.

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