From Giritale Hotel, I then proceed to the famous UNESCO site - Ancient City of Polonnaruwa which was about 14km from the hotel (took me around 30mins or so, I am smarter on day 2; accepting that they calculate distance by time not km, hahhahahaaa....).
Day 1c | Sri Lanka Beedi Cigarette & Giritale Sunset
The second most ancient of Sri Lanka's kingdoms, Polonnaruwa was first declared the capital city by King Vijayabahu I, who defeated the Chola invaders in 1070 AD to reunite the country once more under a local leader.
Wow! Glad to cover few more UNESCO sites this year. Was worried that 2012 will be a boring and slow year for me.
Before visiting the Ancient City of Polonnaruwa, I did a quick stop at Parakrama Samudra.
Parakrama Samudra (or Parakrama's sea or the Sea of King Parakrama) is a shallow reservoir, consisting of three separate reservoirs connected by narrow channels (excerpt from Wikipedia).
The northernmost reservoir is the oldest and referred to as Topa wewa (Sinhalese wewa = lake or reservoir) built around 386.
Few things that I was impressed with is that :
1. It was built in 386 and later expended
2. The word Samudra means ocean/sea/water just like in Malay language.
3. Polonnaruwa Rest House - Why? Read below....
Other infos on Parakrama Samudra can be found HERE from International Lake Environment Committee.
Polonnaruwa Rest House is located at where the bus is.
Polonnaruwa Rest House was built in the 1870’s for British Government Agents (GA), this rest house only have 9 rooms and what made it famous is the Queen’s Suite which built in 1954 to mark the visit of Queen Elizabeth to Sri Lanka.
For those keen to stay here at this rest house now managed by Ceylon Hotels Corporation (CHC), please click HERE.
Road heading to the Parakrama Samudra.
Love this view, note the 3 colour contrast of earth brown, paddy green and clear blue sky. Picturesque huh!
OK, finally I make my way to Ancient City of Polonnaruwa which cost me USD25/=. Yes, I thought the price was rather steep but I guess to maintain and manage the area of this size requires many labours plus restoration are expensive. So, I paid the USD25/- willingly.
The USD25/= that I paid comes with a CD.
3 sites (as stated on the left hand side of the ticket) valid for 1 days ONLY.
Ancient City of Polonnaruwa map.
The area for me to cover is pretty huge, so the USD25/- is very much well spent. However.... due to time constrain, I choose to do a speed visit which took around 1 hour (total ideal time required is 3 hours). I decided not to cover the temples for obvious reason.
This is their version of "Batu Bersurat" (bukan kat Trengganu aje ada tau!).
I just love the colour contrast.
No, it is not hot as they have the reservoir nearby. Hence, you guys will get strong wind blowing and caressing your hair. Sexy huh!
This is the Royal Palace which was built more then 1000 years ago, the bottom 2 floors were built with bricks and the rest of the upper floors (7 floors in total) were built with woods. To think that this stood the test of time is simply impressive.
This is the bathing pool for the royalties. They have proper drainage and pipeline system (Yes, even as far back as 1000+ years ago!!), clean water comes out from the dragon (?) mouth near the staircase.
Current bathing scene opposite of the royal pool.
Sewage system. You can see this everywhere near the area. Pretty advance huh!
Permanent floor mat/moonstone.
To king's throne.
This is the royal throne, the king will sit at the end whereby the ministers at the side between the pillars.
I realised that I have only 10 pictures of myself during this trip.... the least to date. I am proud! Finally it is not all about me. Ceh wah... drama giler. Cam Japanese tourist dak???
The Polonnaruwa Vatadage is an ancient structure dating back to the Polonnaruwa period of Sri Lanka. It is believed to have been built during the reign of Parakramabahu I to hold the tooth relic of the Buddha, or during the reign of Nissanka Malla to hold the alms bowl used by the Buddha.
One of the temple seen from afar.
I have to take out my shoe and walk on the sand/grass/etc. One must respect country's culture.
Statues of Gal Viharaya carved in a single rock face. The images consist of a seated figure, another, smaller seated figure inside an artificial cavern, and standing figure and a reclining figure of Buddha.
This is interesting as I told the guide this depicts the image of reclining Buddha or sleping Buddha and he said it is not. Which got me curious, apparently this is the image of a dying Buddha. Thus I asked how would I know the different. Well, he said that Buddha is lying on his right side with the right arm and theb head is supported by a bolster. Meanwhile the left arm lies along the body and thigh.
Aside from that, the position of the feet is not parallel instead right feet is forward than the other.
The Gal Vihara, also known as Gal Viharaya, is a rock temple of the Buddha situated in the ancient city of Polonnaruwa in north-central Sri Lanka. It was constructed in the 12th century by Parakramabahu I. The central feature of the shrine are four images of the Buddha, which have been carved into the face of a large granite rock. The images consist of a large seated figure, another, smaller seated figure inside an artificial cavern, and standing figure and a reclining figure.
Alot right to be covered within 1 hour? Well, I was surprised myself. But to be fair, half the time I was running from one site to the next as they are not located near each other. Some requires driving.
Ideal time for this place is 3 hours, so please allocate your time carefully if you plan to visit this place.