Monday, February 20, 2017

kandy, sri lanka - part one:

Outside the Temple of the Tooth

After exploring the ancient sites of Sigiriya and Dambulla, we headed to Sri Lanka's cultural capital, Kandy. Set amongst a beautiful hilly backdrop, we arrived in Kandy just as the sun started to set and decided on a quick stroll by the lake, near the Temple of the Tooth - one of Buddhism's most sacred sites. After a big day of exploring the Cultural Triangle, it was a great little taster of what we would get to see the next day as we explored the city in more depth, taking in the Royal Botanical Gardens, the Temple of the Tooth and Kandy in general.

Below are some photos from our arrival and a few from the following day's explorations.

Next: More from Kandy.

Kandy Lake

Flower sellers outside the Temple of the Tooth

The Royal Botanic Gardens

Around Kandy

Monday, February 13, 2017

sigiriya + dambulla, sri lanka:

Negombo beach

Ah, I cannot tell how good it feels to be creating posts and sharing travels with you again!
Kicking off our Sri Lanka travels are some snaps from the first couple of days on the beautiful island.

Pretty much most travellers will spend a bit of time in Negombo, because A - it is the main town nearest the international airport (Colombo, the commercial capital, is actually a bit of a drive away) and B - most flights arrive or depart around midnight, so it is the easiest town to stay in after a long journey, with lots of great accommodation options.
Luckily for us, we happened to land around midday, however after a long flight from Sydney with the little guy, we wanted to time to settle in and take it easy before exploring further. We headed out just before sunset to have a look around the beach and town, and while Negombo isn't anything spectacular, we loved the surrounding country side - full of lush gardens, gorgeous old bungalows and coconut trees aplenty.

After a night in Negombo, we headed east to what is called the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. This area is north of Kandy and home to Sri Lanka's ancient past with many significant historical and religious sites. We decided to visit Sigiriya and the Dambulla cave temple, as these were not far from Kandy (our next stop), and came highly recommended.
Sigiriya blew us away, and I highly recommend it to anyone visiting Sri Lanka. An ancient rock fortress built in the 5th century, it is perched high on top of Lion Rock and well worth the climb, with stunning views of the surrounding landscape. The gardens and complex at it's base are also worth exploring and not rushing through.
After an afternoon atop Sigiriya and an Ayurvedic massage to help recover (we were on holiday after all!) we headed next morning to Dambulla, to explore the famous cave temples, which contain Buddhist statues and paintings. The site is not overly big, and is quite unassuming on first sight. However, upon entering each cave and adjusting to the light, the intricate paintings and statues are beautiful.

Not a bad start to our trip!

Next: the hill town of Kandy.

A traditional fishing boat

Egg hoppers and spicy sambal - delicious!

Approaching Sigiriya

On the top of Lion Rock

Surrounding gardens

The entrance to Dambulla caves

Dambulla cave temples

Inside the caves

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