Sunday 31 March 2012 – Tangalle.
Another month gone, this year is disappearing so quickly!
I was awake way far too early for comfort, 4:30 or so, so I was up and ready for breakfast when the restaurant opened at 7:00. A large pot of coffee to start the day. My room comes with free breakfast, normally it is standard guest house fair of toast, eggs and fruit, but today was Sri Lankan breakfast day and finally, after three weeks in Sri Lanka I got to try string hoppers and dhal. I will say it was mighty fine…
I had originally planned on staying here for two nights but decided on doing three as I was enjoying the atmosphere. The catch was I had to move rooms this morning, which was not such a hassle. After breakfast I packed my stuff up and left it in my room before heading out to the road to meet the tuk-tuk driver I had booked yesterday – and he even turned up on time.
He was taking me out see the cave temple at Mulkirigala which were built approximately fifteen hundred years ago and started by King Saddhatissa. The temple is built on three layers up a rock bluff that stands out from the surrounding countryside. We got a wee bit lost on the way and ended up doing a bit of three wheel driving – well sort of, at one point I thought we were going to tip over, it was fun 🙂
The temples are accessed through a school for monks and as usual there is little signage. I sort of wandered through in what appeared to be the right direction and hoped I was right – and this time I was! After a short stair way I found the ticket office and the first layer of rock temples.
As well as the ubiquitous troop of monkeys – eating all the offered food and flowers.
The reclining Buddha figures in the caves were all behind glass, but I guess most of you who read my blog have probably seen enough of them, I think I finally have as well. I admired the lovely old stupa inside one of the caves as well as the murals on the walls and ceilings.
I decided to walk to the top and then work my way back down through the levels, get the climbing done once and as early as possible. So I started up the stairs.
Followed by some more.
And then some more.
Man, the Sri Lankans loved to put things up high.
Wahoo, the top.
Well almost, but finally there. 530+ steps later.
Frustratingly there was no view from the top ! Too many trees, and only a small stupa as well, oh well. I enjoyed the climb and there was a reasonably cool breeze at the top so I relaxed for a short while before heading back down again to the second level of cave temples.
I could kick myself sometimes, instead of relaxing and taking time to cool down – even at 9:00 am I was pouring sweat, I was worried that I was holding up my tuk-tuk driver – even though I was paying him.
I do wonder about myself…. I did peruse the caves at my leisure, but I could have taken more time. I do not know much about the paintings, but most of them are dated from the 18th century.
And there was a view from here too.
Back at the base I took a shot back up the bluff and then we left.
We did not get lost on the way back to my guest house and I only paid the agreed price. I have heard tales of people getting lost and then being charged an additional fee to cover petrol. Some tuk-tuk drivers cannot be trusted – a surprise I know!
I was back at the guest house by mid-morning and found I had been moved to my new room, equally as nice but the wifi was not as good. After a bit of washing I lazed for a while, had a swim, lazed some more before a nice long Skype with El over a glass of wine in the sun.
I had pizza again for dinner, it was mighty fine, especially as it had a good covering of delicious cheese – I do miss cheese so much 🙂 Dinner was over by 8:00 and the place was just about shut down when I left the restaurant. With not much else to do I retired to my room, finished this post and started watching the classic rock move “This is Spinal Tap”, though I did not make it very far in to the movie – too tired, so I elected to read for a short while instead.
I am reasonably sure this will be my last opportunity to visit temples for a while, there are only a few more days left in Sri Lanka and I hope to get a scuba dive in on one of those days. Never say never though!