Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Polonnaruwa & Habanara

Sunday 28/02/16

After an early breakfast we left Saji Sami hotel at 7.30am to get to Polonnaruwa before the crowds and heat of the day. The journey took just under 3 hours by car and en route we saw a working elephant walking along the roadside with his two mahouts and a mouth full of greenery!
The scenery close to Polonnaruwa is very pretty with a huge reservoir where elephants can sometimes be spotted as the road runs through the Minneriya National Park.
The well preserved ruins of Polonnaruwa are considered the highlight of the Cultural Triangle. It is the ancient capital of Sri Lanka and was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982.

We concentrated our visit on seeing the Rankot Vihara - the fourth largest dagoba in Sri Lanka, 

the Quadrangle - an enclosure on a raised terrace and home to a number of important monuments including the famous Vatadage that housed the Tooth Relic 

and, for us the highlight, Gal Vihara - a shrine which comprises a group of four beautiful Buddha statues carved out of a single slab of granite.

After our visit to Polonnaruwa we continued our journey to Habarana where we would be spending the next two nights at the Cinnamon Lodge hotel.

Monday 29/02/16

After the bonus of another free upgrade at check in (!) we enjoyed supper at the poolside and had a peaceful nights sleep in a huge bed! 

Earlier in the evening we had walked around the grounds which are quite extensive and we were given a guided tour of the organic farm where they grow a multitude of veggies and where we also saw butterflies and birds including the Indian Pitta and bee catchers. 

Breakfast was delivered to our room the following morning and we ate the  pastries, toast, juice, coffee and fruits on the terrace enjoying the woodland view.

After a pleasant wander to the shops and ATM to stock up on biscuits(!) and rupees we headed back to the hotel and spent the rest of the day by the pool.
In the evening we had a lovely sunset wander and another scrummy dinner by the pool before heading back and another restful night in the massive bed!

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