Anuradhapura. Who knew it was even here? I certainly didn’t until I started planning my trip to Sri Lanka a few months ago. But this calm, mystical, and lovely place is magical. Joan and I often found ourselves talking about Angkor Wat in Cambodia or the incredible sites in Thailand as we wandered around some of the most amazing stupas (called dagobas in the local parlance) and other archeological sites many dating before the birth of Christ.
But there were a couple of things that were delightfully different from Buddhist sites I’ve visited in the past. First and foremost, this UNESCO World Heritage Site has not yet been discovered by western tourists allowing for the local population to continue to use the mesmerizing temples to still be used as active places of worship. The difference this makes for a visitor is amazing. A lack of crowds provides a sense of serenity that these temples are meant to evoke. This is difficult to find in the modern, jet-set world, and I am so happy to have discovered it.
Not to jinx us, but Joan and I have incredible luck at being in places when something important is going on. The photo above is a good example. We happened to be Anuradhapura on one of the most important Buddhist holidays of the year. Here you see followers carrying a bolt of cloth that will be wrapped around the dagoba, like a large ribbon or bow. The structure is HUGE and it is difficult to describe how long this piece of cloth is. You can see the video here: https://youtu.be/IwKCCopGp58
Take your shoes off and walk around with me in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka. It surely must be one of the steps of reaching nirvana.