streda, 17. júna 2015

Sri Lanka - village tour


Village tour. That was a name in our itenerary and I was not sure what to expect. It promised catamaran ride and bullock cart ride. Before we arrived to Sri Lanka, my imagination about this one was we are sailing on a huge white polished catamaran I often see in Croatia on a lake similar to the Geneva lake in Lausanne, Switzerland and admiring the village (city) houses around. Hahaha. So wrong!
Our driver stoped on a main road and took us to some hut right at the edge of the road. Then I saw this poor bull and a cart. I know, all my animal protection friends can hate me right now, but this was our ride. To be honest, I can walk faster. It took ages untill this bull took us to the lake (which really was not further that 2 kilometers I think). The lake was quite small and the catamaran was like four wooden boards jointed together and floating on something. The catamaran ride took less than five minutes. Good thing we saw Sigiriya Rock from there.We stepped out of it and walked to another hut, the sun was setting down so the light was beautiful. There was this woman in the hut and without any words, she started to prepare some typical local food for us. Then it striked me, that this is something like presentation of a typical srilankan life going on here. She made some flatbread from coconut flour, served it to us and then asked for money. It was all really weird, especially when you think that this is something offered by travel agencies. It is all happening without any words, introduction, anything. After we gave her some money, our "guide" called a tuk-tuk and took us to the hotel. Very weird. Despite the beautiful sunset and light, it was very weird. Maybe it all had to do with our main problem, which I did not mention untill now. Despite we hired a guide recomended by my friend, he did not show up at the beginning of our trip and sent a substitute. Which would be ok, but this guy did not speak English, or very little. So we really did not have a guide. We had a driver. He took us across the country but without saying anything about it. Which I think was a big dissapointment for us, expecting to learn about Sri Lanka from a local. Big bummer.

Village tour (prehliadka dediny). To sa objavilo v našom cestovnom itenerári a ja som si nebola istá čo čakať. Sľubovali jazdu katamaránom a nejakým kravským povozom. Predtým, než sme prišli na Sri Lanku, som si naivne predstavovala, ako sa plavíme na bielučkom katamaráne, aké vídam v Chorvátsku, po obrovskom jazere podobnom tomu Ženevskému a obdivujeme stavby naokolo. Hahaha. Čistý omyl. Kde som dala rozum?
Náš vodič zastal pri okraji hlavnej cesty a odviedol nás do nejakej polorozpadnutej slamenej chatrče počkať. Potom som zbadala toho úbohého vola a slamený voz. Teraz ma právom môžu neznášať všetci ochrancovia zvierat. Lebo ten vôl nás ťahal a trčali mu rebrá. Peši by som bola určite pri jazere rýchlejšie. Trmácali sme sa večnosť a nebolo to ďalej ako 2 kilometre. Jazero bolo malé a katamarán  tvorilo pár dosiek zbitých k sebe, ktoré sa na niečom vznášali.Plavba trvala asi 5 minút :-). Pozitívne bolo, že sme konečne videli pekne Leviu skalu. Vystúpili sme a kráčali sme smerom k nejakej chatrči, slnko práve zapadalo a svetlo bolo v tom čase skutočne úžasné. V chatrči stála žena a po našom príchode sa bez jediného slova pustila do prípravy lokálneho jedla. Urobila placku z kokosovej múky a nejakú čili kokosovú omáčku k tomu, naservírovala nám to a vypýtala si peniaze. Celé to bolo dosť čudné, hlavne keď si zoberiete, že táto "tour" je niečo, čo ponúkajú agentúry. Všetko sa deje bez nejakého sprievodného alebo úvodného slova.Po tom čo sme žene zaplatili , náš "sprievodca" zavolal tuk-tuk a odvizol nás do hotela. Čudné, veľmi čudné. Napriek nádhernému západu slnka veľmi čudné. Možno to má niečo do činenia s našim hlavným problémom, o ktorom som sa doteraz nezmienila. Napriek tomu, že sme si najali sprievodcu doporučeného mojou kamarátkou, ten proste na letisko neprišiel a poslal za seba náhradníka. Čo by bolo v poriadku, keby ten náhradník vedel po anglicky. Ale nevedel - takže sme nedostali sprievodcu, ale vodiča. Viezol nás cez celú krajinu, ale nič nám o nej nepovedal. To bolo pre nás veľkým sklamaním. Celé zle.









piatok, 12. júna 2015

Sri Lanka - Polonnaruwa


Polonnaruwa is the next ancient kingdom capital, which dissapeared in the jungle and if the English archeologists did not do their search, Sri Lanka would have nothing to offer except the beaches.
Polonnaruwa is younger and more preserved than Anuradhapura. It is also more compact, but still quite large. It is situated next to a great artificial lake, which used to be 25m2 large, so it was named the Parakrama Samudra (“Sea of Parakramabahu”). By the way did you know, that there is no single natural lake in Sri Lanka. All of them are artificial. This one was built by king Parakramabahu, as the whole city was. Since 1982 Polonnaruwa became a part of  UNESCO World cultural heritage site.
There is a small museum at the entrance to Polonnaruwa. You can have a look, but maybe I would suggest to leave it for the end of your visit - you might skip it if there is not enough time, and it gives you nice conclusion if you have some time.
Here are some of the important sights in Polonnaruwa:

Polonnaruva  je ďaľším kráľovským mestom, ktoré po čase obrástla džungla a nebyť anglických archeológov, Srí Lanka by dnes okrem pláží ani nemala čo ponúknuť. Polonnaruva je mladšia a zachovalejšia než Anuradhapura. Je aj kompaktnejšia, ale stále obrovská. Leží pri obrovskej nádrži, ktorá mala rozlohu 25 km2, a tak dostala meno Parákamove more (Parákrama samudra). Inak vedeli ste, že na Srí Lanke nie je jediné prírodné jazero? Všetko sú to umelo vybudované nádrže. Jazero dal urobiť kráľ Parákramabáhua, ako aj celé mesto. Od roku 1982 je Polonnaruva zapísaná na Zoznam svetového kultúrneho a prírodného dedičstva UNESCO.
Pri vstupe narazíte na archeologické múzeum, ktoré stojí za zbežnú prehliadku,  Ale možno je lepšie nechať si ho nakoniec - buď ho vynecháte alebo vám skompletizuje informácie o Polonnaruve.
Tu je časť najdôležitejších pamatok v Polonnaruve:

 King´s Royal palace. It used to be 21 m long, 13 m wide structure and had 7 floors. The ramains are just 3m thick walls of first two floors. According to archeologists, the higher floors must have been made from wood.

Kráľovský palác. Bol 31 m dlhý, 13 m široký a mal 7 poschodí. Zostali z neho trojmetrové steny prvých dvoch poschodí. Ďalšie poschodia museli byť podľa archeológov drevené.


The ruins of Royal palace

Audience hall. This is one of the most preserved structures in the Royal Palace Group, with beautiful stone carved elephants on the walls. Each of them is pictured in different position. You will find beautiful lions on the top of each side.

Audienčná sieň. Jedna z najzachovalejších pamiatok, ktorú zdobia reliéfy slonov. Každý je zobrazený v inej pozícii. Na vrchole schodiska sú krásne kamenné levy. 

Audience hall
 Audience hall details
Audience hall details
Audience hall

The Pool. That was a very beautiful spot of Polonnaruva. Unfortunately I was not able to take some more better pictures (blame to heat :-) ).

Bazén (Kumara Pokuna) bol krásnym zákutím Polonnaruvy. Bohužial sa mi nepodarilo urobiť viac lepších fotiek (zvaľujem to na to horko).





































































The Sacred Quadrangle is a compact group of beautiful and impressive ruins within a raised up platform. This is the most concentrated collection of buildings in the whole Ancient City. There are several sights belonging to Quadrangle, these are pictures from Vatadage. 
The outermost terrace is  18 m in diameter. There are stairs leading to a pillar pavilion, which has four entrances all flanked by very nice guard stones from each side. The four entrances all lead to a central dagoba with four Buddhas.

Štvoruholník. Tak sa nazýva skupina ruín na vyvýšenom mieste. Je to najväčšia koncentrácia budov, ktorú môžte nájsť v starovekom meste. Patrí sem niekoľko pamiatok, toto sú fotky z Vatadágé. Kruhový priemer celej stavby je 18 m. Zo spodu vedú schody k stĺpovému pavilónu, ktorý mal 4 vchody, zdobené sochami z každej strany. Hore je centrálna dágoba so štyrmi sochami Buddhu.

A statue at one of the entrences, stairs leading up to stupa.
The Vatadage Buddha

Beautiful details

Personally, I was  interested the most to see the Gal Vihara, a group of sculptures portraiting Buddha. Especially the Sleeping Buddha, which is 14 meters long. Beside this one, there is a standing Buddha 7 m tall and two statues of sitting Buddha.

Ja osobne som bola najviac zvedavá na Galviháru, skupinu sôch zobrazujúcich Buddhu. Obzvlášť teda na toho spiaceho, ktorý má 14 metrov. Okrem neho je tam aj stojaca socha vysoká 7 m a dve sediace sochy Buddhu. 


The sleeping Buddha at Gal Vihara is 14 m long

In the Northern part of the City sights, we liked Lankatilaka the most. It is a huge temple. Preserved are impressive 17 meters high walls and a big standing headless Buddha .
V severnej skupine pamiatok nás najviac upútala Lankátilaka, obrovská svätyňa. Zachovali sa 17 metrové steny a veľká socha stojaceho Buddhu bez hlavy.

The big Buddha Lankatilaka. The walls are impressive 17 m high


Our last stop was dagoba Kiri Vihara. It was built in honour of the King`s queen. The name means milk white. When the archeologists came to the area, and cleared it from the overgrown jungle, the original lime plaster was found in perfect white condition after 700 years.This is the best-preserved unrestored dagoba in Polonnaruwa.

While wissitng the ancient city of Polonnaruwa, do not forget to take a  pair of socks, which you can use in places, where you have to be bare foot and the ground is burning hot most of the time.

Poslednou zastávkou bola dágoba Kirivehera. Jej stavba sa pripisuje královne Subhare, manželke kráľa Parákramabáhua. Jej názov znamená mliečne biela. Keď ju totiž po 700 rokoch objavili, jej vápenná omietka bola v skvelom stave. Je to najzachovalejšia nerenštuovaná pamatka v Polonnaruve.

Nezabudnite si na výlet do Polonnaruvy zobrať ponožky, v ktorých môžete ostať na miestach, kde treba ísť bosý a väčšinou zem páli na nevydržanie.

Dagoba Kiri Vihara