April 14th-an auspicious day

firecrackers and barking dogs,pipes and singing mark the arrival of new year- oh and Mark’s birthday. Things quieten down about three and dawn arrives with only sporadic thunder flash explosions. The lads start a quick game while families prepare breakfast.

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At 10.16 fires are lit in homes as the most auspicious time to boil the coconut milk. If it boils over then all will have good luck in the coming yrar. Yes it did and so Mark will.

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Hindu families come out to welcome their gods through each village; some are more enthusiastic than others as the proceedings start.

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Mark joins in the festivities knowing that this new year & Mark’s birthday coincide with the new moon so there must be a really big bash. Sadly no – in Sri Lanka alcohol cannot be sold on night of full moon. No wonder all look so glum.

 

 

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Up into the hills to Kandy

But first, following a climb of 1002 steps to the top of the king’s citadel, a drive through spice alley experiencing rural everyday life as we travel.

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Someone has to carve & paint all those elephants!

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The ‘commercial centre’ of Sri Lanka; or a large market working 24 hours. Lories & vans queue to get in & the boys are there to load up.

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A Hindu temple- coming up to New Year! April 14 the every year.  How auspicious.

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I can’t leave without a Buddhist ceremony- the walk past of Buddha’s tooth

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I’m going on an elephant hunt!

But first a stupa( where would you be without a stupa) and a wonderful temple ruin with Budha overlooking what’s left.

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This one is 50 metres high!

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Lunch with a local family

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And here are the elephants

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I like this view with mountains in the background.

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Another day of Buddhas

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This one is carved of solid rock. The flags fly at all Buddhist temples, shrines, stupas. The colours represent aspects of Buddhism. Red represents wisdom – find the others.

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A real, live monk!

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Behind the white facade are five temple caves each of which is home to 100s of statues and painted Buddhas.

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And this big fella looks after it all at the bottom of the hill

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Now the rains come & brilliant lightening storm. G&T tonight!

Anuradhapura – stupas, steps & statues

Breakfast by the lake – a cool, glorious morning for us to explore & the local monkey gang to set off on their Triumphs.

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Today is all about Buddha arriving imn Sri Lanka. I’ll try get it right!

Having visited the sacred Bo-Tree,2,200 years old we go to Ruvanvalisaya Dagoba stupa- a shrine for monks and the man’s remains.

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They clean the plaster dome very three weeks swinging around it on this ladder:

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The highest stupa was over 100 metres high although the top is off it now.

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To reach Mihintale where the monk Arahath prayed & converted locals you have to climb 1000 odd steps. Here he is at the top in his teaching pose.

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Then the pre monsoon storm comes early and a retreat is beaten to the veranda to watch the lightening through the sheets of rain. Oh, accompanied by tea, of course!

Nogombo fish market

Don’t believe all I write on here~yesterday was not Palm Sunday just some Catholicy service and it was a pretty monsoon storm that seems to occur every day during late afternoon.

Anyway, some images from the dried & fresh fish market. You can smell it from the UK!

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