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UNESCO Heritage Sites

Walking from Thuparamaya to Ruwanwalisaya

A pilgrim tour to Anuradhapura is one of the things I do whenever I am in Sri Lanka. Few months ago I had the opportunity to visit Anuradhapura and spent time among Buddhist offerings. Although we came back to Sri Lanka again within few months, with my desire to visit Anuradhapura, I arranged another pilgrimage.

In Anuradhapura sacred city, there are many historical places to visit. As a UNESCO heritage site, this sacred city is a must visit place for anyone who loves historical places. All the main attractions are easily reached by a vehicle. So, previously we always used the vehicle to reach each of the temples and stupas in Anuradhapura. However this time we walked more.

Walking from Thuparamaya to Ruwanwalisaya

Walking From Thuparamaya to Ruwanwelisaya

In sacred city of Anuradhapura, all the temples and sacred places are located in walking distances between those. From Thuparamaya, you can easily walk to Ruwanwelisaya and it is around 15 minutes’ walk if you walk leisurely and slowly. The best thing is that this route is with beautiful views and some other ancient ruins.

Walking from Thuparamaya to Ruwanwalisaya
Ancient ruins in front of Thuparamaya temple complex

In our walk, we had a glance to other historical buildings and ruins around Thuparamaya temple complex. Starting from the ruins of Thuparamaya temple complex, we could see some other ruins along the way to Ruwanwelisaya.

Walking from Thuparamaya to Ruwanwalisaya

On one side, it is a small lake with the views of nature.

Walking from Thuparamaya to Ruwanwalisaya
View of Jethawanaramaya behind the lake.

My son who is still 4 years old could enjoy this nature walk with the views of birds namely kingfisher, oriole and even a vulture. Sounds of peacocks allowed us to connect with nature.

Walking from Thuparamaya to Ruwanwalisaya
We enjoyed the nature in this morning while walking.
Helpful tips if you plan walking from Thuparamaya to Ruwanwalisaya Stupa
Walking from Thuparamaya to Ruwanwalisaya
Near the Ruwanwalisaya end,you can buy flowers.
  • The distance between these stupas is less than 1 km when you walk.
  • The best time for walking is in the early morning or evening to avoid heat of the sun.
  • There is a foot path which you can easily walk.
  • Near the Ruwanwalisaya end, you can easily buy flowers to offer.
  • There are ancient ruins along the way. You will also watch natural views while walking.

 

Do you like such walking tours among the historical places?

 

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka

When we are in Sri Lanka we always love to arrange pilgrimages with family members. As a country with lot of sacred cities, temples and historical sites, Sri Lanka offers many reasons for us to plan pilgrimages each year. It can be a pilgrimage to see temples and ruins of ancient city Polonnaruwa or it can be a pilgrimage to see Anuradhapura attractions, we always find these tours as a way to bond with family members while spending time in religious activities. Our trips to Kandy are also pilgrimages most of the times as temples are the main attractions, not only for visiting but also to spend time with religious and spiritual activities.

So, here is a travelogue of one of our recent pilgrimages to Anuradhapura which is one of the sacred cities in Sri Lanka.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka

It was last June that we were in another holiday in Sri Lanka. During this period, we spent time to visit Anuradhapura which is one of the sacred cities in Sri Lanka. I’ve visited Anuradhapura Buddhist attractions many time, but I still plan to visit the same places again simply due to the Buddhist beliefs and to spend time in spiritual activities.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Stopping at a fruit stall is a great way to have a break.

As of most pilgrimages, we left our home early in the morning with the hope of reaching Anuradhapura in the noon. On the way to Anuradhapura, we stopped in few places for breakfast and for short breaks. As there are fruit stalls along the road to Anuradhapura, it is always enjoyable to taste different fruits which are also fresh.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Travelling with a kid,we always like to have short breaks during road trips.

Finally, we reached Anuradhapura. After having lunch, our first visit was to the ‘Sri Maha Bodhi Tree’ which is one of the sacred places for Buddhists in Sri Lanka.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Sri Maha Bodhi tree

It is believed that ‘Sri Maha Bodhi tree’ is a sapling of Bodhi tree that Buddha was sitting during his enlightenment.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Offerings at the Sri Maha Bodhi Tree

As usual we always like to visit Ruwanwalisaya in the evening to avoid the sun. During the day time, it can be really hot and it is not easy to go around the stupa and do the offerings with proper concentration.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Ruwanwalisaya Stupa

In Thuparamaya, we also could see and  join another Buddhist offering which is called ‘Kap ruk Poojawa’.After visiting both Thuparamaya and Ruwanwelisaya which are must visit attractions in Anuradhapura, we reached our accommodation.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Kap Ruk poojawa at Thuparamaya

It was the day before June Full moon day which is also called ‘Poson Poya’.In Sri Lanka, full moon day is a holiday and it is a day for Buddhist activities. As a Majaor poya day,Pososn Poya is a crowded day for Anuradhapura and temples were full of devotees.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Thuparamaya Stupa after Kap ruk poojawa

We also spent time having meals and drinks from ‘Dan sal’.Dan Sal are the places that people offer food and drinks for anyone without any charge. It is completely free to drink or eat from a ‘Dansala’ and these events are mostly organized during the major full moon days.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Dan Sala (It was a Biscuit Dan sala organized by a major Biscuit brand of Sri Lanka which travellers to Anuradhapura received biscuits free. 🙂

As the city was fully crowded, we also experienced huge traffic jam. However we could visit the major attractions including Abhayagiriya and Jethwanaramaya.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
Mirisawetiya stupa

We had great two days in Anuradhapura spending in spiritual activities. It was a pilgrimage that we like to remind again and again.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka
It is easy to buy flowers and other necessary things for offerings at the entrance of each Buddhist places.
Useful tips for planning a pilgrimage to Anuradhapura

Leave early and reach Anuradhapura early morning to save time. So, you can visit more attractions during the few days of stay.

Follow the rules when you enter into the sacred city and the temples. Check this post on how to behave in a Buddhist temple if you are not sure.

Avoid bathing in lakes if you don’t know the designated places to have a bath or to enjoy water activities. Always read the sign boards and warnings before you go to the water/lakes.

Hiring a van from a car rental service is always our preferred way to reach Anuradhapura when we plan pilgrimages. This is a stress free way to reach Anuradhapura.

Accommodation in Anuradhapura

Book your accommodation before you reach Anuradhapura. During the crowded days, it is not easy to find proper accommodation.

We booked Creston Park Accomodation through Agoda which is a decent budget hotel that is great for family holidays. The good thing about Creston Park Accomodation is that their food is really delicious. Also staff is friendly.The location is strategic and near to sacred city of Anuradhapura. (Accomodation Near Anuradhapura Pooja Nagaraya)

If you look for booking a complete house for your group, then check AirBnb for such accommodation .Most of the houses offered are affordable in rates. Use this link to book and save up to $50 SGD travel credit.

A Pilgrimage to Anuradhapura- Sri Lanka

Have you been to Anuradhapura? Do you like pilgrimages? If so, do you plan such trips with family members and friends? Please share your thoughts below.

 

Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions

Anuradhapura, which is one of the must visit cities in Sri Lanka is full of historical attractions. Anuradhapura as one of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka own lot of heritage sites to show you how Sri Lanka was in the ancient times. Together with influences of Buddhism, Anuradhapura has to offer lot more information about its history, culture and traditions that was existed in Sri Lanka before thousand years ago. As one of the pilgrimage destinations for Sri Lankans, Anuradhapura is full of Buddhist temples which any visitor to Anuradhapura must have a look. In this post, I want to share some of the must visit attractions in Anuradhapura which can complete your holiday to Sri Lanka. Once you visit these places, I am sure you’ll be amazed with the rich history, heritage and culture which Sri Lanka owns!

Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit Attractions

Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit Attractions
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit Attractions
Ruwanwelisaya Stupa
Ruwanwelisaya Anuradhapura
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit Attractions

Built by king Dutugamunu in 140 B.C., this is one of the sacred places for Buddhists in Sri Lanka and all over the world. Also known as Rathnamali Dagaba,Swarnamali Chaithyaya or Ruwanwali Saya, this stupa (monument) is one of the must visit attractions in Anuradhapura.

Useful tips:

Usually it is best to visit in the evening as day time it can be really hot in the surrounding.

Remember to remove your shoes before entering to the temple premises. Also you need to wear appropriate clothes when you enter into the Ruwanweliseya premises.

Read more : Ruwanwelisaya

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Tree
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions
Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi Tree-Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

Once you visit the Ruwanwelisaya, the next must visit location is Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree which is located in walking distance to Ruwanweliseya. As the oldest historically sacred tree in the world, Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree is a branch from the Bodhi tree of Buddha Gaya, India which Lord Buddha was enlightened.

Lowamahapaya
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions
Lowamahapaya ,Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

When you walk to the Sri Maha Bodhi tree, from Ruwanwelisaya, you will find another historical building on the left side of you. This is called Lowamahapaya.

Although it is a ruined building now, it was a nine story building which was built by the king Dutugamunu. In ancient days, Lowamahapaya was used as a Uposathagara which also included a simamalakaya. A simamalakaya is a place where the Buddhist monks (sangha) assembled on the full moon days to recite the Buddhist sutra.(Buddhist chanting)

Read More about our travel post to Lowamahapaya Anuradhapura.

Mirisawetiya
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions
Mirisawetiya ,Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

Mirisawetiya is another sacred Buddhist place which is also one of the ‘Atamasthana’ which every Buddhists like to visit in their lifetime. This stupa is also built by the king Dutugamunu after defeating the king Elara.

Read more : Mirisawetiya Sri Lanka

Thuparamaya
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions
Thuparamaya – Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

As the first dagaba built in Sri Lanka after introducing the Buddhism, Thuparamaya was built by the king Dewanampiyathissa in the 3rd century BC. Thuparamaya is also considered as the oldest dagaba in Sri Lanka which is another must visit place in Anuradhapura.

Read more about Thuparamaya

Jethwanaramaya
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions
Jethawanaramaya – Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

The Jethwanaramaya is another stupa in Anuradhapura which is another must visit heritage site of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka. Historical records say Jethawanaramaya was built by the king Mahasena as a stupa in the Jethawana Monastery. Once you visit this sacred place, you will be sure amazed with the historical architecture and culture!

See more pictures and read more about Anuradhapura Jethwanaramaya

Isurumuniya
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions
Isurumuniya Vihara – Sri Lanka Anuradhapura

Although Isurumuniya temple is famous for the ‘Isurumuniya Lovers’ sculpture, you will be amazed with the beautiful views of this temple. After visiting above mentioned places in Anuradhapura, I found this Isurumuniya viharaya as a different place. It is different from other attractions in Anuradhapura in view and in location. It is a rock temple located in a calm environment. Don’t forget to visit Isuruminiya viharaya and also the museum next to it in your holiday in Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka as this is one of the best places to visit.

Read more about our trip to Isurumuniya Vihara.

Samadhi Pilimaya
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions
Samadhi Buddha Statue -Anuradhapura

Situated in Mahamevnawa in Anuradhapura, Samadhi Buddha statue is a Buddhist sacred place which you need to visit in Sri Lanka. Peaceful environment, historical background and Dhyana Mudra meditation posture of Buddha statue will make you calm and relax. You will never regret of your visit here for your entire lifetime.

Read more about : Samadhi Buddha Statue

 

Abhayagiri Viharaya
Sri Lanka Anuradhapura – Must Visit attractions
Abhayagiri Viharaya

Next to Samadhi Pilimaya, you will see the views of Abhayagiriya. It is another Buddhist temple complex. Abhayagiriya viharaya is one of the ‘Atamasthana’ you must visit in Anuradhapura Sri Lanka in order to complete your satisfaction in holiday in Sri Lanka.

There are many other places and attractions in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka including Lankaramaya. As one of the UNESCO heritage sites of Sri Lanka, you’ll be amazed with views and attractions which you visit. Truly you will have a cultural and heritage tour which adds value for your Sri Lanka holiday.

Useful tips to Visit Anuradhapura – Sri Lanka

Above mentioned Anuradhapura attractions are Buddhist religious places. Therefore, always follow the steps not to disturb the others. Some of the places are full of Buddhist devotees who are participating in Buddhist meditation and other activities. You may need to stay silent or not to disturb them.

Also remember to wear appropriate clothes which are long below the knees. You can offer flowers and oil lamps. Usually it is easy to buy such offerings from the stalls near the temples.

Help locals by purchasing small things, offerings or souvenirs from them. This is not a must. But it will be always helpful if you support the locals of the area.

Here are more helpful tips about visiting temples in Sri Lanka.

Food in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

As there are hotels and restaurants available, you will not find difficult to find food of your choice. However, you can also try Sri Lankan food in Anuradhapura. There are various places which you can try Rice and Curry together with other Sri Lankan food.

Check this post about our food experience in Anuradhapura: http://foodcnr.com/sri-lankan-breakfast-in-anuradhapura/

Along the way to Anuradhapura, you will also find people selling fresh fruits in small stalls along the road.

Accommodation in Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

There are many types of accommodation available in Anuradhapura. However it is better to book before you reach there. We visited there as a pilgrimage tour, family trip. So, we rented whole house as it is the best way to spend with family and relatives.

There are also hotels available in Anuradhapura from Budget hotels to Luxury hotels. You can check these hotels in Anuradhapura and book before you reach there.

Remember, Anuradhapura is usually crowded on Full moon poya days. It is better to avoid such dates if your travel plan is flexible.

 

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Exploring Malacca
Clock Tower and red buildings in Dutch Square

Malacca or Melaka which is a UNESCO heritage site full of attractions was in my destination list for a long time. Rich cultural diversity, proud historical buildings & footprints of colonial influence and of course the delicious food are the reasons to admire this historical state of Malaysia. Still this fascinating city is with colonial structures and remaining British, Dutch and Portuguese influence. If you were given few days to visit Malacca, you will first get lost because there are so many things to see in Malacca and admire. But, if you visit Malacca and to complete your trip in Malacca, you should first visit the UNESCO heritage site and see the attractions.

No, we were not there for 24 hours. Instead we spent 2 nights there and in this post I want to highlight the must see attractions in Malacca to make your holiday memorable even you left with 24 hours.

Exploring Malacca
Christ Church – Melaka

We started our journey from Christ Church Melaka which was built by Dutch. This beautiful red church is one of the landmarks in Malacca which anyone should see.

Exploring Malacca
Water Fountain – Melaka

Our next visit was to the attractions in Dutch Square which is just opposite the Christ Church. There is a beautiful water fountain at the centre of the area and there are beautiful red buildings around the Dutch square. This area is the best place to hire rickshaws which are decorated with colourful flowers.

In our visit to Melaka we saw lot of wedding couples who were taking photos with different poses. Most of them were wearing the traditional sultanate dresses.

Exploring Malacca
A wedding couple

Oliver the Bulldozer is one of the major attractions which were used before the 2nd world war. The buildings and structures are red painted and they showed the proud history of this Malaysia state.

Exploring Malacca
Oliver – The Bulldozer

We didn’t forget to read and learn bit of history on our first day in Malacca.

Exploring Malacca

Things to do in Malacca, Dutch Square   

Here are the main attractions in this small corner of the UNESCO Heritage site.

Including Christ Church Melaka, there are beautiful and historical buildings which you can see and explore in Malacca. A rickshaw tour will make your visit memorable and you can easily hire one parked near the red square .

Exploring Malacca

The bulldozer, clock tower and other buildings are the major attractions. Don’t forget to watch locals and their activities. Different cultural activities will make your visit exciting. We were glad to see wedded couples and their beautiful costumes.

Food in Malacca
Delicious food

Street food is another thing which you must not miss. Be sure to try different food during your stay because Malacca is a popular destination for Nonya food and other delicacies.

Where to stay in Malacca

There are lots of hotels in Malacca. So finding accommodation is not difficult. We stayed at Emperor Hotel ,Malacca ,which is in walking distance to major attractions.

How to reach Malacca from Singapore

If you don’t drive, then it is easy to travel by bus. There are buses which go to Malacca central and other major hotels from Singapore. You can easily book buses online to Malacca and then rest assured. In our trip to Malacca, we booked bus tickets from Busonlineticket and we didn’t face any problem. There are many buses departing from Singapore to Melaka and we booked our bus which is of Delima Express.

We could select our pick up point as we wished and reached there for the scheduled time. From Malacca central, we hired a taxi to the hotel. It was a hassle free tour.

Have you been to Malacca? Please share your experiences.

Till my next post about our Malacca holiday, please share your photo stories.

 

 

Angkor Wat Temple Complex –Must Visit UNESCO Heritage site in Cambodia

Built in the 12th century, Angkor Wat Temple still remain its position as the must visit attraction in Cambodia or as must visit attraction in Angkor. With amazing carvings and sculptures, this temple shows the luxury and craftsmanship skills of the ancient Cambodia which surprise the tourists from around the world.

Bit of history

It is known as built in 12th century by the King Suryavarman II, as per legends he took 30 years to complete the construction of this temple and dedicated as a temple for Vishnu. Angkor Wat temple is located about 6 km to the north of Siem Reap and it is a designated UNESCO world heritage site.

Angkor Wat Temple Complex
Sculptures of Temple Complex

Spreading over 162.6 hectares land area, Angkor Wat temple complex is the world’s largest religious monument. The Angkor Wat temple complex comprise of range of temples, pagoda and some ancient ruins which makes it a great place for those who like to explore the historic places. It is a must visit place in Cambodia with lot of sculptures and carvings.

Visiting Angkor Wat Temple

The beautiful sculptures and carvings in the Angkor Wat temple is one of the main reasons to visit this temple. You will find never ending photo opportunities as memories from your holiday there.

UNESCO Heritage site in Cambodia
Murals of Angkor Wat Temple Complex

Once you visit this Angkor Wat Temple complex, you can also visit other temples such as Bayon and Ta Prohm which are also located at the Angkor Archaeological Park. Another best thing to do in Angkor Wat temple complex is watching sunrise. In mornings hundreds of travellers gather into Angkor Wat temple to watch the wonderful sunrise.Don’t miss this wonderful opportunity!

When you visit this temple, remember to wear appropriate clothes, especially long enough over the knees and with covered shoulders to pay the respect to this temple.

With these details and with a good travel plan, we hope you will have a good time there in Angkor by visiting the Angkor Wat temple. It will be an amazing experience for the entire lifetime!

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