Sigirlya Rock Fortress

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Mar 292012

In 5th century B.C., according to Michael Odaatje in Running in the Family, poems were scratched onto the rock face of Sigiriya–the rock fortress of a despot king. These were short verses to the painted women in the frescoes which spoke of love in all its confusions and brokenness. Poems to mythological women who consumed and overcame mundane lives. The phrases saw breasts as perfect swans;eyes long and clean as horizon. The anonymous poets returned again and again to the same metaphors. These were the first folk poems of the country.”

Explore Columbo, March 27th

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Mar 282012


Skyline behind the Garagaramaya Temple

Skyline behind the Garagaramaya

We are up early and out to explore Colombo, Sri Lanka’s capital, biggest city and major port. Columbo blends together all the colors and cultures that make up the island nation, weaves them into a patchwork of markets, gardens and buildings both humble and imposing, and wedges all along a narrow strip of beachfront.

We are fascinated by Colombo’s colonial heritage but we tire quickly of the diesel fumes, the traffic congestion

and the starkly functional modern buildings on Galle Rd, the city’s main artery. Cultural and historical attractions in areas such as Fort, Cinnamon Gardens and Petal are rich and varied.

Garagmaya Buddhist Temple and Monastary serves not only as a place of Buddhist worship; it is also a centre of learning. The temple is involved in Buddhist welfare work including old peoples’ homes, a vocational school and an orphanage. The temple is uniquely attractive and tolerant to congregation members of many different religions.

Sunset Among the Buddhas

Sunset Among the Buddhas

Negumbo Fish Market

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Mar 272012

North of Columbo, on the coast quite near to our hotel is the Ngombo fish market, biggest in the area and major supplier to the capitol city of both fresh and salted fish.

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage

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Mar 262012

Pinnawela Elephant Orphanage is a sanctuary, operated by the Sri Lankan government which cares for orphaned and injured elephants in their natural surroundings. Established in 1975 by the Department of Wildlife Conservation on a 25-acre (10 ha) coconut plantation on the Maha Oya river, the orphanage was originally founded in order to afford care and protection to the many orphaned elephants found in the jungle.

The aim of the orphanage is to simulate the natural world. However, there are some exceptions: the elephants are taken to the river twice daily for a bath, and all the babies under three years of age are still bottle fed by the mahouts and volunteers. Each animal is also given about 76 kilograms (170 lb) of green roughage a day and around 2 kg (4.4 lb) from a food bag containing rice bran and maize. They also have access to water twice a day at the river.

This elephant orphanage is also a breeding place. More than twenty-three elephants have been born since 1984, and the orphanage claims the largest herd of captive elephants in the world. While most of the elephants are healthy, one is blind, and one, named Sama, has lost her front right leg to a land mine.

A very popular among local and foreign tourist attraction who come to observe the bathing elephants from the broad river bank as the herd interacts socially, bathing and playing.

Check out the great UTube link to the Pinnawela site at the right.

Arrival Coumbo

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Mar 252012

Colombo is Sri Lanka’s bustling commercial capital—with diverse neighborhoods from the Fort district in the north, with its unusual combination of modern financial intuitions (like the World Trade Center) and colonial buildings, to the fashionable and evocatively named Cinnamon Gardens neighborhood in the south.