Holy day at Anuradhapura

Hot sun and hundreds of people around…

Entire bus-loads of Sri Lankan’s were at Anuradhapura on the same day as us. By chance, we had picked a Holy Day to visit a sacred Buddhist site.

An ancient city and a major hub of civilisation in the region for 1,300 years, Anuradhapura is often compared to Cambodia’s Angkor and was declared a World Heritage site by Unesco in 1982.

I loved the atmosphere on the day we were there, so many families and groups of people. It was obvious how important the site was to devotees and most people seemed to be genuinely happy to be there that day. We weren’t really able to fully explore the place because of the size of the crowds. It was easier to just go with the flow and follow the masses from one place of worship to another.

Jetavanarama Dagoba. Ninety three million bricks were used in its construction. It was the 3rd (after Cheops & Chefren’s pyramids at Giza, Egypt) tallest building in the world and the highest brick-built stupa when it was built in the 3rd century AD by King Mahasena. It took 27 years to build. At the time of construction, it was 120m high, today only 70m high.

Jetavana Stupa. The entire stupa is built on a platform big enough to fit thirty thousand devotees.

Kuttam Pokuna (Twin Ponds) dates back to the 3rd century and are regarded as masterpieces of ancient Singhalese architecture. Water was supplied through underground pipelines and several filtering chambers.

Women and children were very friendly and wanted to pose for photos. Many women were dressed in white. There were several big posters with the message: ‘ Holy day -> Please refrain from wearing black to the temple’ which, unfortunately, I was wearing. I didn’t know. I tried ‘brightening’ my outfit with a colourful scarf and smiled apologetically to basically everyone.

Another lovely group of women. One of them was already photographing the group. When I asked if I could also take a photo, they were very happy to pose and called more people to take part.

Beautiful smile.

First glimpse of the Ruwanweliseya Stupa.

Built in the 2nd century BC by King Dutugemunu. Sacred to Buddhists all over the world. 55m high, the third largest stupa on the island and the first monastery of Sri Lanka.

Entrance fee for foreign tourists: 25 USD

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s