We didn’t really have any plans today, other than spending some time at the beach but while eating breakfast the hostel owner Roshan came in and convinced us to go and see the Giant Buddha temple not too far away. So we jumped in his tuk tuk and off we went.
We are so glad we did as it was very impressive. Not only in size but inside the Buddha there were two levels of murals painted throughout, depicting Buddhist teachings and history. They were really unusual as they had been moulded and then painted, so were 3D. Back outside around the base of the Buddha people had left flower offerings all around the edge.
The temple was really busy and we don’t know if it was just because it was a Saturday or maybe a festival. Either way people were filing up the hill with fruit platters and moving into another temple situated behind the Buddha so we decided to go in and investigate. People would take their plate into the left hand side of the temple and get it blessed, walk through a side door into the main chamber where there were 3 or 4 Buddha statues and then walk out. Then they proceeded into a covered area and ate their fruit platter. We originally thought the fruit would be offerings to Buddha but here you ate them.
Conveniently just outside the temple there was an elephant who you seemed to feed your leftovers to. He was really beautiful but sadly chained both front and back legs and while he didn’t seem in distress I am very much looking forward to seeing these beautiful creatures in the wild. Which hopefully will be in the next week or two!
We wandered back down the road to catch a tuk tuk and passed all the fruit sellers selling the pre prepared fruit platters and lotus flowers for offering. We caught our tuk tuk who much to Tim’s disgust wouldn’t match our hostel owners price but it was hot and I wasn’t walking home so we grudgingly paid him double the price which was an extra 100 rupees (which is roughly $1) and waited for the heat to subside.
On our way to the beach a while later we stopped in a little roadside cafe and had food. Tim saw a sign for chicken biryani and expressed some interest in that to me while sitting down. The waiter must have overheard because before we knew it and had a chance to order, we had two giant plates of chicken biryani! Luckily it was delicious.
We managed a nice long walk along the beach right up to the point to digest our food. The weather was a little cooler and there was a little bit of cloud cover. A lot of the resorts along the beach are low buildings set back behind a screen of palms, which gives the illusion that you are walking along a deserted stretch of pristine untouched beach. We imagined the beach where we walked our dogs to have maybe looked like this about 100 years ago.
On the walk back home the heavens opened and we would have gotten wet, but luckily for me there was an ice-cream cafe open where we sheltered from the brief storm. The torrential rain continued off and on but we managed a dry walk to and from a local restaurant where we had our first beer.
Alcohol is not available in all restaurants here and when it is, it’s pretty expensive. Usually more than what we are paying for a plate of food. There are off licenses here which are cheaper but to be honest we are enjoying the time off the booze. For us at the moment a big glass of cold water seems to be doing the trick. I am sure there are going to be sections of Sri Lanka where the streets are lined with bars but so far we haven’t experienced that. It’s pretty quiet at night which is nice. S
The entrance to the Big Buddha
The Elephant or fruit devourer.
The temple behind the Buddha where the fruit was being taken.
The fruit vendors at the base of the hill leading to the temples.
Back in the village we walked past a little fish market with fresh fish as well as fish in various states of drying.
The beach is behind what looks like an island on the left. You had to cross this bridge where the photo was taken and then make your way back right to hit the beach.
The beach. As you can see that if you walk a little way along it gets pretty deserted.
Untouched and amazing.