Sri Lanka Itinerary Day 3
On day 3, we had a big day ahead since we planned to visit the ancient city of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya rock fortress.
After having a big English breakfast of bread-butter-jam, eggs and some fruits in the morning we met Manju. Manju owns a tourist car and he was our car driver cum guide for the next few days.
When I first saw Manju, I was quite surprised by his look. He was so neat and clean. Manju was a big fan of Hindi movies and he told us once upon a time he was addicted of Hindi movies and he stopped watching TV to get rid of his addiction. He knew some Hindi movie dialogues as well.
We decided to go Polonnaruwa first since it was a bit far and it needs more time explore. Polonnaruwa is an ancient archeological city and one of the UNESCO world heritage sites.
On the way on our journey, at one point we saw few monitor lizards roaming on the road and that place was crowded. We stopped there to see lizards. Those were big water monitor lizards. And villagers were feeding them meat. It was interesting to see those lizards were friendly with people.
After an hour of driving we reached Polonnaruwa. Our first stop was at the Archaeological Museum. We bought tickets from there and stepped in. The museum mainly provides information on different sites of the ancient city which we were about to visit. Photography is not allowed inside the museum, so I do not have any pictures from the museum.
The ancient city of Polonnaruwa is a huge archeological area. It comprises of monuments built by Cholas, sacred temples & stupas, rock craved statues of Buddha and the ruins garden city created in the 12th century. Unfortunately, most of the monuments and statues are broken and ruined.
It’s better to get a guide to know detailed history of the place. It took around 2 -3 hours to visit each and every monument.
One important thing I would like to share here. In all the sacred places in Sri Lanka, we need to wear proper clothes. Short dresses/pants or sleeveless tops are not allowed inside the temples. We need cover ourselves properly before entering temples. I would suggest, do not wear shoes as well since every time before entering in temple we need to remove it.
After exploring the ancient city we started our journey towards the Sigiriya rock fortress.Manju was an awesome guide as well driver we met. While travelling, he told us many stories of the travelers he met.
On the way to Sigiriya, Manju took us to Woodwork workshop, the place where we saw how wooden handmade antiques are made.
It was already 4 pm when we reached Sigiriya village. The Sigiriya rock fortress is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites. It is again an archeological site on the top of the Sigiriya rock. Once upon a time there was a royal palace on the top rock.
After buying tickets at entrance, we first visited a small museum and then we started walking toward the Sigiriya rock fortress. There is a huge garden area around the rock and in garden, there’s path which leads toward rock fortress.
The main adventure and challenging part here is to climb 1200 steps to reach on the top of the rock. The steps were narrow & congested. We can’t really take any break in between since it would block others. So it was like continuously climbing and climbing. We climbed 1200 steps in an hour and it was the most tiring thing I have done on my trip. Climbing the Sigiriya rock was a big achievement for us.
On the top of rock climate was cold and foggy, but the view from the top was breathtaking. It is a peaceful place where I sat for a while and witnessed the beauty of nature.
We started descending before sunset. Of course, the descending was much easier than climbing. We reached quickly at the bottom where Manju was waiting for us.
Both places we visited play important role in the history of Sri Lanka. It was an exceptionally good day we spent in experiencing the history of Sri Lanka.