Friday, November 7, 2014

Kataragama-the sacred town.

Kataragama is an important pilgrim town for Buddhists, Hindus Muslims and indigenous people. And for tourists. Having several religions active in one place is bound to be colourfull. A day there when the show is on is a noisy and at times congested affair. It is also exotic, colourfull and facinating. It is quite natural to combine a visit here with the typical trip to Yala national park  since Kataragama is easy to reach from Tissa-the startingpoint for the Yala safaris.

The first offering goes to a living cow instead of a dead statue.

Preparing the fruit offerings outside the Kataragama temple. The elephant wall being sort of its trademark.

Offerings for sale.
It might be sacred-but that obviously doesn't mean it can't be seriously branded!

Praying Buddhists.

Hindus walking under the belly of a temple elephant three times. for luck and prosperity.

And for their luck, the pilgrims also give a welcomed handout to the elephant.

Sacrificing water.

All the commotion takes its toll.
Fruit offerings. Quite a lot of people had their mouths full of these offerings.

A procession with music and noise.

I was lucky to catch a dance performance.

The bottom of society. Having a weight trying to convince people into getting their measures revealed for a small fee.

A buddhistmonk.

One of the many small and somewhat kitchy shrines. Some of them Hindu, some Buddhist.

In Kataragama there is also a beautiful mosque.

The imam of the mosque. He was friendly enough-but the strictness and seriousness and lack of smile found here, compared to what was experienced among Buddhists and Hindus just moments before was striking. I think it tells something....

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Thursday, November 6, 2014

Hortons plain National park.

The worlds end look out.

It was an early 0500 hours start from  the hotel in Nuwara Eliya, a chilly town in the highlands, towards the Hortons plain Nationalpark. An even chillier plateauarea higher up.  We drove trough pretty farmlands with tea and vegetables for quite some time before starting the steep climb towards the Hortons Plain.

Stopping having a look at the pyramide shaped Adams peak in the background.  I was glad i was not going to climb it that morning!

Almost at the plain-looking back. The farmland give way to dense forest.

I shared the jeep with a lovely South african couple.
The locals didn't really care.
There are established and mandatory trails in the park-forming one big and one smaller circuit. We all went for the grand tour taking a few hours. To begin with we set up a little speed-the time factor is critical, one have to beat the clouds starting to roll up from the lowland quite early, obstructing the view. Easpecially in the rainy season this is an issue-and one might not get any view at all during that time.

Trailside flowerbeauty.

Finally we get the worlds end cliff in sight. We are going to beat the clouds and mist and will get a great view.
The cliff is the end of the road-from here the landscape fall down to the lowlands.

The junglefowl. A chicken basically. Nevertheless-it is Sri lankas nationalbird.

This cutie rest just outside the visitor center.