Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sri Lanka - Part 8 - Ritigala

Our first major stop for the day was a visit to the ruins in the Ritigala Strict Nature Reserve.

Just past the beginning of the path up to the monastery is a tank that at one time must have been quite impressive.
This part of the trail was labeled "pavement". It really was an impressive road. Some of the trail was a typical dirt woodland trail. We enjoyed the walk through the jungle as much as viewing the ruins.
The trail claimed about 100 feet from the parking lot to the monastery. This was a "rest area" along the trail. The rim made a nice sitting area. It continues downward on stairs at the far end.
Among the amenities the monks had was this urinal. The urine was collected in a stack of terra cotta pots below the hole, and it slowly leached into the environment. An early septic system.
There was a small make-shift shrine to Ganesha near the tank at the beginning of the trail. Touches of Hinduism can be found at many Buddhist sites
This nice plant was growing out of a small crevice at the top of a boulder in the parking lot.
Also in the parking lot -- we saw a "grizzled giant squirrel". This squirrel is about the size of a raccoon. Here it is munching on a tamarind pod.
Around Ritigala:

A young girl (and her two brothers) were picking water lilies and lotus flowers hoping to sell them to travelers on the road. They came running when we stopped the bus for a photo opportunity of the Ritigala mountains behind the lotus pond.
A little further down the road a man liked to lure water monitors out into the open with a stick baited with fish.
A better view of the water monitor.

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