Our travel in Sri Lanka for Summer of 2016 was fun. Hope you had a chance to read about Day 1 and Day 2.
On day 3, we were set to cover Polonnarwa, Habarana and then proceed to Sigirya Rock Fortress.
Coconut and Corn Snack: After breakfast, we were ready to leave for Polonnarwa at 09.00 AM. Our first stop for the day was at a coconut and corn shop on the highway. We took a short walk around the thatched shop. Kids loved seeing the paddy fields, a cow and a red auto. This reminded me of my vacation at my grandparent’s home (Cuddalore / Nellikupam).
It took close to 2 hours to reach Polonnarwa from Anuradhapuram. We had one of the most knowledgable travel guide Ben who shared lots of history and stories about the places we visited. He told us that King Vijayabahu-1 declared Polonnarwa as the capital city of Sri Lanka when he defeated Chola invaders in 1070 AD. We visited the world heritage site to see the royal palace, the Gal Viharaya where four splendid statues of Buddha carved out of rock is present. There was also King Parakramabahu’s statue. King Parakramabahu’s reign is considered as the Golden Age of Polonnarruwa as agriculture and trade flourished in the region. He built the best irrigation system in the country and we stopped for a quick look at the Parakrama Samudraya lake built by him.
Village Food Tour:
After touring Polonnarwa, we were super hungry. This place will be the icing to cake for food lovers. We signed up for a village food meal at Habarana (Wildlife Safari) with Nilanth (+94-777-067833). The meal is arranged on traditional buffet style in a long room covered with thatched roof. The food was placed in clay pots. The meals were served on a lotus leaf placed over bamboo plate holder. The lunch comprised of red and white rice along with 6 authentic curries, papadum, chicken, fish and salad. For dessert they served farm fresh seasonal fruits. Mineral water was also served as part of the meal. We payed 750 Srilankan Rupees per person. She also did a cooking demostration for a delicious dish she made with banana flower. I shared a short video on how to cut a banana flower here.
Sigiriya Rock Fortress:
After a delicious lunch and the summer heat made all of our 50+ year old family members except my grandmother who is 62 years old and kids tired. So we decided to drop them at Kassapa Lionrock Hotel and just 5 of us left to hike the Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Kids spent the evening swimming at the pool and enjoyed running freely in the wide open space of the hotel. My couins, me and my grandmother were climbing the 5th century Sigiriya Rock Fortress hearing tons and tons of stories from Ben. The fortress was buildt by King Kashyappa. Here goes the story as narrated by Ben, our travel tour guide –
“Kashyapa was the eldest son to King Dhatusena. However he was not the heir to the throne as he was born to a mistress. Moggallana was the son born to the queen and he was the legal heir to the throne. Migara the commander of the king’s army had disagreement with king so he helped Kashyapa become the king. Kashyapa murdered his father by entombing him in a wall. Moggallana fled to South India fearing that Kashyapa would kill him. The people of Anuradhapuram disliked him so fearing an attack from Mogallana or his people, Kashyapa moved his capital to Sigiriya. His palace was built on top of the Sigiriya rock and from the top of the rock he had view of the city in every direction. Finally in 495 BC Moggallana returned from South India with an army and defeated Kashyapa’s army in the land around the rock. Seeing the defeat, Kashyapa killed himself with his sowrd. Moggallana became the king.”
It is a long hike and plan to start the hike around 4-5 PM as the sunsets and temperature drops. We watched the sunset from the top of the rock and it was the most beautiful sight ever. The hike took about 2-3 hours. This is a must see spot so plan accordingly to visit them.