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Thursday, November 21, 2019

Our One-Day 440km Trip to Dibulagala

Day 21 - Sri Lanka has a history of people on pilgrimages. Folks have always taken to the roads when they were still paths to visit religious sites. There are literally hundreds of Buddhist sites worthy of visiting in Sri Lanka. Also, Hindu and Christian holy sites dot the landscape. Moslems practice their faith in most every part of the country too.

Just as importantly, the geography of this island widely varies. There are tea estates in the mountains that stay cloaked in mist. The coconut fringed beaches are a tourist brochure staple. Entirely different vegetation grows and different animals live in dry areas

On a road trip, it takes only hours to see a vast assortment of religious sites and differing ecosystems

On the Road

We got up early and were ready to leave the house at about six o'clock. Nazir had arranged for a van for the day. He came along and chatted to the driver in the front seat. Jay and I had the middle seats and Jay's sisters sat in the rear row.

We expected it to take about 5 hours to get to Dibulagala, 20km on the other side of the Ancient City Polonnaruwa. That is pretty close to Sri Lanka's other coast. We had planned to grab breakfast along the way. We did finally eat at one of the nice roadside buffet restaurants. Sathkaara Dehena was on the other side of Kurunegala. By the time we ate, we didn't mind that some of the foods were lunch based.

Entrance to Dibulagala

Enjoying Every Leaf

OK, Next Time in the Cool of a Morning

I've visited much of Sri Lanka over my years of coming here. In fact, my experience is extensive compared even to some Sri Lankans. We had never been to this site. The closest was during extensive flooding in the east in 2011. As buses were finding roads with intact bridges, we passed near this site and saw the temple on the mountain.

Today, we got there at noon. We strolled the grounds and entered the extensive cave temple. This is a place where young monks still study but we saw no evidence of them during the mid-day hours.

Stepping Inside

Spacious

Overcoming Evil

The site was one of the earliest temples built by King Devanampiya Tissa (307 BC to 267 BC). Most recently, in the 1950s, a monk worked this location in cooperation with the aboriginal Vedda people and the Tamils living in the area. His monastery is still active as the secluded site offers much seclusion and place for contemplation.

Parting Shot

After looking around, we needed to start our return trip. The A/C in the van was welcomed as it was a pretty warm day. We ate lunch at an interesting place near Harbarana Junction. We saw a French-speaking lady helping to run Aliya Pink 1 and guessed that she had married a local guy and made this her life. As well as the buffet restaurant they had A/C and non-A/C rooms. This area is busy due to the famous Sigiriya rock fortress.

The roads were pretty crowded and we stopped at many roadside shops and sellers. In Sri Lanka each area is known for specific agricultural products, crafts, or handmade items. As well as fruit and grains, we got a couple of bedroom pillows.

We stopped for tea and coffee this time as we were leaving Kurunegala. It got dark. We saw lightening but managed to miss the actual rain. We pulled into the driveway here at 8:15pm. The night was black. That means we were gone for more than 14 hours.

Vegetables

Mostly Mangoes

Stopping at Roadside Sellers

Jay's sisters think this was a short trip. Occasionally, they don't get home until midnight after a big trip. Howver, I'd rather do this type of thing over multiple days and see more while in each area. I'm just pining for the old days when we boarded a bus and went to the destination without and a GPS and 4G data plan. We had to ask people what to do and see. Alas, I'm glad I've lived long enough to have done travel both ways, I guess.


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