The second country I visited during my three month trip around the world was Sri Lanka, the land of temples, Buddhism and monkeys . I knew that I wanted to visit Asia, and after doing some reading up about this beautiful country, I decided I wanted to go. Again, I booked my trip through Gap 360 as it was similar to South Africa in that it was a guided group tour experience. I was in Sri Lanka for two weeks.
On the 3rd of July I flew into Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo , met up with the rest of my tour group and then got picked up by the group leader to take us on a long taxi ride to Kandy. It was night time so it was pitch black, but lit up by street lamps and shop lights. When we arrived at the lodge it was pretty late so we went straight to sleep and so I didn’t realise how many other travellers like me were actually staying there. When I went down for breakfast in the morning there were about 40-50 travellers in a range of ages and nationalities – it was pretty overwhelming as most of them seemed to be a bit more experienced than I was considering I had only been away by myself to one country for only two weeks at this point!
The city of Kandy is incredibly busy and extremely loud. We took tuk tuks to get from place to place and there doesn’t seem to be a system in terms of traffic and “right of ways” which was interesting to experience in a tiny car with no doors! There were lovely markets in the main centre selling fruits, clothes and cosmetics and everybody was so friendly and welcoming.
Obviously travelling in a primarily Buddhist country there were a lot of stunning temples to see. The first and second photo I put in this blog is of the giant Avukana Buddha statue near Kekirawa, which is in North Central Sri Lanka. It is over 40 feet tall, built out of stone and is believed to have been built during the 5th century. The following three photos were all taken at The Ruwanwelisaya in Anuradhapura. This structure is a stupa – a hemispherical structure containing relics, and is sacred to many Buddhists around the world who use it as a place of meditation and prayer. It was initially built around 140 B.C. and renovated in the early 20th century.
Two other places we visited were the breathtaking Golden Temple of Dambulla which I can’t even do justice for and the Isurumuniya Temple which was in Anuradhapura. The Golden Temple is the largest, most well-preserved cave temple site in Sri Lanka and dates back to the first century B.C.. (the first four photos of the second set). The second to last photo was taken standing on the platform above the Isurumuniya Temple with a gorgeous view across Sri Lanka.
My last week in Sri Lanka was a “mind and body” week, where I woke up everyday with the sun to do morning yoga, and then in the afternoon I went into the outskirts of Kandy to visit a man who taught me meditation techniques. The week was both relaxing and challenging and I am trying so hard to be more of a morning person!
The programme in South Africa I used isn’t available any more, but The Green Lion Sri Lanka ran the programmes, lodge and tours: Green Lion Sri Lanka