the ancient city of polonnaruwa
we drove north from kandy and our destination was the ancient city of polonnaruwa. this unesco world heritage site is quite amazing – the ruins nestled into the jungle are really impressive. polonnaruwa was the second captial of the kingdom of sri lanka, a fabulous garden city created in the 12th century.
there’s a lot of ground to cover and things to see in polonnaruwa, and we didn’t have a ton of time because we were planning on doing a sunset jeep safari at minneriya national park that evening (our incredible experience with one hundred elephants is coming in the next post!). our driver, koshala, was awesome and make sure we saw all the highlights quickly but well. he drove us to a half a dozen different spots … we got out, explored for a little while, and then carried on. since we tend to prefer a pretty fast pace at places like this, it was perfect!
all of the ruins were really cool to see (some of the carvings are so remarkably well preserved!), but my two favourite bits of polonnaruwa were: (one) the huuuuge reclining buddha cut right out of the rock, and (two) the monkeys everywhere!
^^ in buddhist temples, it is customary to take off your shoes. ^^
^^ how’s that for a doormat?! ^^
^^ there are lots of monkeys all over the ancient city, but i was so excited to see a brand new baby! i watched these guys for a solid twenty minutes and took about fifty pictures, haha! ^^
^^ visitors at polonnaruwa (and most buddhist temples in sri lanka) are asked to not take photos with backs turned to statues, as that would be considered disrespectful. ^^
^^ i was blown away by this reclining buddha, carved out of the stone nearly one thousand years ago! astonishing. ^^
i love marveling at and learning from different sacred places.