Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

After a 2 day stay in Negombo and another 2 days stay in Kalpitiya, Anuradhapura was the next stop. Anuradhapura is one of the ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, famous for its well-preserved ruins of ancient Sri Lankan civilization the preservation and continuation of Theraveda Buddhism. The ancient city, considered sacred to the Buddhist world, is today surrounded by monasteries covering an area of over sixteen square miles (40 km²).

But again, being on a backpackers budget, we opted out for the UNESCO tickets and decided to find bird’s eyes views of the Dagobas inside the ancient city. So, with our backpack packed full of the tourist reg (water, camera, books and money) we headed to the watersheds (an impressive engineering feat themselves), which with their height above ground, we could use as a viewing point. From there, we traveled on to see the laying Buddha, Ruwanwelisseya Dagoba, the Rock Temple, and the sacred Bodhi Tree (where we recieved our first Buddhist Blessing of the trip). By this time, it was getting later in the day, but earlier, we had passed by a huge Buddha statue, which we thought would be worth a see. So, thinking it was our last stop, we headed for the statue, only to find ourselves in the middle of a monastery. And as we entered through the gates, we were waved over by a monk with a big smile, asking us to come into his classroom filled with his students. The kindness we experienced in the next two hours and again later in that evening is something we will never forget. We spent hours talkng about the English Language, Buddhism, the circle of life, finding faces whom you are sure you have met in another life, and visiting one of the monk’s temples late into the evening with a cup of soup, tea, and a big smile; feeling absolutely sure that at this moment in time our lives were blessed.

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