Anuradhapura

The final of our World Heritage cultural triangle sites was Anurhadapura. This sprawling ancient capital was best visited on bicycles, and so we meandered around, stopping in at huge stupas and ‘proper’ ruins. Its slightly more dishevelled than some of the other sites, which in some ways adds to its charm, but lacks some of the intricate carvings and well preserved detail of its counterparts. It is however a very sacred place for Buddhists and holds the Bodhi tree, said to be the oldest human planted tree in existence, having been brought from India as a cutting from the tree under which Buddha attained enlightenment.

This part of Sri Lanka is known for its huge and numerous tanks. These ancient manmade reservoirs cleverly corralled water and diverted it into irrigation channels for farming. Now days they are still functional, but run a successful sideline as water bird habitats. We were very lucky to stay at a resort, Ulagalla, whi, ch was the most fabulous hotel we have ever stayed in. More of a village than a hotel, we had our own stand alone house with deck and pool, perched on the edge of a nearby tank which was filled with wildlife. It had its own organic farm and rice paddy, and transport was via bikes on manicured dirt roads.

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