Polonnaruwa and Anuradhapura
I travelled to Polonnaruwa to see the ruins of the past kingdoms and it was different to the other places I visited. There was so much history in the city and it was filled with remains of large buildings that had broken down with time. The ruins still carried the beautiful details that were engraved into them a thousand years ago, and some of the large monasteries and prayer halls still remain standing. There were also temples, remains of palaces that still had guard stones at the entrance, pools that were built in the shape of a lotus entirely from carved stones and statues of Lord Buddha that were also carved out of stone and stood at 15-20ft in height.
The Rock Temple in Polonnaruwa has a number of Buddha statues picturing various times of Lord Buddha’s life and structures that date back a thousand years, preserved carefully by devoted Buddhist monks to this day.
Afterwards, I visited Anuradhapura. It’s a very quiet, peaceful old city that has many temples that were built thousands of years ago. It’s one of the most important places of worship for the Buddhist community in Sri Lanka and many people come every day to pray. The city has an old temple and a Bo tree named, Sri Maha Bodi, which is more than 2000 years of age. This tree is very special because it is believed to be the right-wing branch of the Sri Maha Bodi that is in India, which is the Bo tree that Lord Buddha attained enlightenment under. After that I walked around to see many more temples and monasteries that date back to nearly 2000 years. It was a very calming and spiritual visit to the old city of Anuradhapura. In both Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa I saw carvings and details on the structures that were influenced by different cultures in the past and it seemed like a timeline to the Sri Lankan history as well. I also saw reservoirs and lakes that were very impressive in their size and the technology of how they collect rain water and support the lives of the locals, hundreds of years later.