When a Line Meets the Ocean

Kandy

Ready to move towards the countryside we took a train to Kandy, taking us roughly eight hours instead of five due to the recent flooding. We stayed at a place called Backpack Lanka which cost ₹3,700 a night for a private room with an outdoor swimming pool that was awesome. The number one attraction in Kandy was the Temple of the Sacred Tooth Relic which is said to be Sri Lanka’s most important Buddhist relic, housing a tooth of Buddha. Disregarding its hype we chose not to visit as we were informed of its exuberant entry price and over crowdedness, without actually seeing the tooth which is kept in a gold casket. Making the most of the city’s greenery we strolled around the lake and visited the local botanical gardens. The entry for the gardens was extortionately priced at ₹1,000 in comparison to the local fee of ₹50. The gardens were very peaceful and picturesque but you can’t help but feel its an unjustified price being twenty times more for tourists.

Sigiriya - Lion Rock

Sigiriya is a UNESCO World Heritage site that solitary towers 200m above the surrounding landscape, known to be formed from magma of an extinct volcano. Its presence is powerful with near vertical walls that lead to a rocky plateau. Clambering up the hundreds of hand carved steps was quite the challenge but totally worth the breath taking scenery. We passed several of the wall paintings that depicted women engaged in some form of ritual which were quite intriguing to look at, along with the mirror wall that was once smoothed to create reflections back when the king ruled. The palace complex was built by an ancient civilization that was ruled by King Kasyapa, where they built a network of pools and gardens that remnants still remain. Sigiriya is famous for its glorious lion gateway with stairs that lead to the top, but sadly only the chiseled claws of the lion remain. We were very fortunate to spend some time by ourselves to absorb the spectacular views spreading out into the distance before the crowds of rolled in. This was our most expensive sight costing $30 per person, but regardless of the price, it was worth every penny wonder around a such a significant architectural site. From here we took the last local bus off the main road to Trincomalee arriving late that evening.