“Pic of the Week”, March 17, 2023: Room with a view, Trincomalee

00 Amaranthe Bay Resort

The Amaranthe Bay Resort is located just north of Trincomalee on the Pillaikulam Aru river.  It’s a lovely resort in a quiet neighborhood and the view over the river is nice, especially at sunrise.  We spent a few days here.
As I was dealing with jet-lag at the time so I was up before dawn each morning.  I’d spend a good deal of that time looking out over the river.  There were lots of birds that awoke with me and birdsong at dawn is always something I enjoy.
I think there were some fishing nets strung across the other side of the river, as this man tended to something out there every morning.  But it was far enough away that I wasn’t …

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“Pic of the Week”, January 27, 2023: Sri Pathrakali Amman Temple, Trincomalee

00 Sri Pathrakali Amman Temple

Trincomalee is best known for its beautiful natural harbor and spectacular diving.  But there are some diversions in the town that are worth stopping to see.
The Patrakali Amman Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the goddess Kali.  It has an elaborate and colorful facade filled with hundreds of statues.   
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge)

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A Visit to the Koneswaram Temple, Trincomalee

00 Koneswaram Temple

For most of the late 20th century, Trincomalee was at the heart of Sri Lanka’s long, bloody Civil War.  As you would expect, visitation to the area was limited and I’ve only been to the city once, this during my last visit to Ceylon.  It’s one of the nicer communities in the country and has a beautiful setting along the Indian Ocean.
Located high on a rock promontory (known as Konesar Malai) is one of the biggest attractions in Trincomalee, the Koneswaram Hindu Temple (a.k.a Dakshinakailasha).  The temple is built on an ancient Hindu site that dates to around the 16th century B.C.  A temple has occupied the space since at least the 6th century B.C., and it’s long been a …

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Sinhalese New Year Celebration, Sri Lanka

00 New Years, Polonnaruwa

Tomorrow, April 14th, is New Year’s Day in Sri Lanka.  Sinhalese Buddhists call it ‘Aluth Avurudu’, while Tamil Hindus name it ‘Puthandu’.  My last visit to Sri Lanka coincided with this celebration, which I thought I’d share with you today. 
The date and time of Sri Lanka’s New Year’s is determined by astrologists, but  always falls between April 12th and 15th (depending on the cycle of the moon).  It’s a celebration based partially in superstitions — a way to hope for a good harvest and prosperous year.  New Year’s is a time to put on some new clothes and visit friends, family or a temple, and to enjoy good food.  Parades are held, although we didn’t go to one.  Almost everything …

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Gal Vihara, Sri Lanka

00 Gal Vihara (2)

One of the most amazing sites in Sri Lanka is the Gal Vihara, which is located within the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  I thought the Gal Vihara was unusual and interesting enough to warrant a more detailed blog.   During my last visit I spent a full hour here, studying and photographing details of the carvings and just watching people.   
This has long been a site of Buddhist worship and teaching.  Gal Vihara (meaning ‘Rock Temple’) is an amazing collection of beautifully sculpted Buddha images carved from a massive granite boulder.  The scope of the carvings and their beautiful detail never cease to amaze me.  Hard to imagine the time it …

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“Pic of the Week”, December 4, 2020: Monkey getting a Drink, Sri Lanka

Polonnaruwa (237)

Sri Lanka is home to several exquisite and fascinating historic sites, one of which is the medieval city of Polonnaruwa, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
There’s a river not that far from the ruins, but this toque monkey was innovative, deciding instead of having to scamper a mile or more for a drink, she would simply drink from water trapped in rounded stone holes (probably where logs had been inserted centuries ago).
Simple, but effective and thirst-quenching. 
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance the slideshow)


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“Pic of the Week”, October 30, 2020: St. Clair Falls and Tea Plantation, Sri Lanka

00 St. Clair waterfall and plantation

A traditional stop when driving the road from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya is to see St. Clair’s Falls, one of the widest waterfalls in Sri Lanka.  It was misty and cool in the mountains here at nearly a mile above sea level, as it often is.
The cascade of the Kotmale Oya river through the St. Clair tea plantation (from which the falls derive their name) is a pretty sight.  I’d previously visited these falls about 20 years earlier and recalled a lot more water literally filling the river and pouring rather than trickling down the mountain.  I asked my driver whether the water was so low because of dry weather?  No that was not the case — apparently the flow …

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Views of Sri Lanka’s Tea Country from the Rear Window

Trip to Nuwara Eliya, Sri Lanka (95)

Despite being a small nation, there’s a lot of beautiful scenery to enjoy in Sri Lanka, from lovely palm-fringed beaches, to charming small villages, to ancient cities.  As far as scenery to enjoy while on a road trip, I don’t think there’s anything more appealing than a drive through the tea country of the mountains.
The following images are a short gallery taken from my back seat window while traveling from Colombo to Nuwara Eliya, the latter city in the heart of the country’s tea-growing region.  The roads are curvy and progress is slow, but I suppose that’s a metaphor for life in Ceylon.
Here are some of the scenes spotted along the way:
(Click on thumbnails to enlarge, right arrow to advance …

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