Sunday, 31 March 2013

8 Women Sing'Theatre, SOTA Theatre

An English version of the French play, which was made into a movie few years back.  Sing'Theatre's staging of this production was commendable, under the sure hand of director Samatha Scott-Blackhall. 

Venus in Fur by Singapore Repertory Theatre

 A play within a play, David Ives' Venus in Fur was about a playwright Thomas who decided to give a woman Vanda to try out the lead role of an erotic novel Venus in Fur.  What unfolded was the role reversal between man and women, and master and servant.

Sri Lanka Travels in 12 Days

This is a reference point on the travels in Sri Lanka.   Will continue to include more entries when more write-ups are posted.

ANURADHAPURA (World Heritage Site)

Jetavanarama Dagoba

Brazen Palace, Sri Maha Bodhi & Ruwanweli Seya Dagoba

Abhayagiri Dagoba, Samadhi Buddha and Twin Ponds

Thursday, 21 March 2013

Sri Lanka Day 4: Buddha Tooth Relic Temple & Cultural Show

The highlight of Kandy would definitely be the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple, or Sri Dalada Maligawa.  We bought flowers (Rs100) before entering the compound. 

Our driver Rohan could not join us.   While walking past the gate, a person claimed that Rohan had asked him to guide us.  Sigh!.  We walked through about 100 metres before reaching the main building.   At the temple entrance, another guide claimed that the entrance fee included the service of a guide.  Why does such a holy place have such dishonest persons?

Beautifully carved entrance.

Through the entrance and we saw an altar.

The tooth relic was located on the second floor of an old building.  In front of the relic, a lot of people were sitting on the floor chanting or praying. 

We cannot really see the Tooth Relic, just a shrine.

I laid the flowers in front of the shrine.  The whole place was serene.

There was a New Shrine room which it had a contemporary feel to me

Stories of Buddhism hung along the wall.  Again, we were approached by a person to pray. Sigh.

Nonetheless, we were happy to visit the Buddha Tooth Relic Temple. It was a holy place and we feel good after visiting it.

Next, we attended a 5:30 pm cultural show by Mallawaarachchi.  The venue YMBA looked more like a school hall, with basic stage and draping.  In terms of standards, it was a mix of experienced and new performers.  As a cultural show targeted at tourists, it was entertaining and some good photo opportunities. 

After the show proper, the audience was led outside to see fire walking and some fire-dance.  Overall, I think it is still worth a visit as there aren’t many things to do in late afternoon.  The ticket price (Rs500) is reasonable.

We wanted to try out restaurants outside the hotel, especially the no-so-good food at Senani Restaurant in the afternoon.  Rohan recommended us to eat at Dinemor, a fast-food kind of eatery.  We ordered Middle Eastern food sharwana and also burger.  The food was tasty, no complaints.  On the ground floor, there was a supermarket and I bought energy drink for my Adam’s Peak climb.

To read more: Sri Lanka Travels

Sri Lanka Day 4: Spice Garden at Mattala and Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple

Took some photos of arround Hotel Sorowwa while waited for our driver Rohan to arrive.  Upon arrival, Rohan later told me that there was a strike by the driver-guide union today but it had been settled.

Our first stop was Kandalama Hotel, designed by famed architect Geoffrey Bawa.

The hotel was fully booked during our time there, so the next best thing was to visit the hotel. It was built into and round the rocks.


Kandalama Hotel was located in a beautiful setting, overseeing the lakes.  The swimming pool seems to blend into the lake.

This hotel would be great if you intend to spend 1 day specifically there.  Very relaxing.  It is located near to Dumbulla Caves.

Drinking the yello-tusk coconut.  It tastes good and its flesh is soft.  However, the Thai coconunts are better.

Onward to Mattala, where we stopped at a spice garden Isiwara Ayuvedic Village.  

We were given a guided tour, with quite a heavy emphasis on sales of product. 

There were demonstration of rope making and rice husk removing. 

The price of the products were very expensive but the staff did not arm twist us to buy.  Why can’t the owner just quote a more reasonable price?

Aluvihara Rock Cave Temple was a good break between journey (Rs250). 

This temple would not deem spectacular to me. There were  a few reclining Buddhas and wall murals of 18 chambers of hell, quite similar to the Chinese mythology.  It is more a good place to break the car journey.

We finally arrived at Kandy near noon. We had fried noodles at Senani Restaurant which overlooked the Kandy Lake.  The view was great but the food wasn’t.  It took a long time to serve our food.  Later, we were told that due to the proposed strike by the driver-guide union, the restaurant did not prepare for any guests to turn up.  The waiter was nice enough to provide dhal curry for us to go with the noodles.

The consolation was the good view of Kandy centre.

Read more: Sri Lanka Travels

Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Hotel Sorowwa, Habarana, Sri Lanka

We stayed 2 nights at Hotel Sorowa, which served as a good base to visit the Cultural Triangle, in particular Polonnaruwa, Sigiriya and Dumbulla.

Lobby area.

The breakfast spread was good.  Buffet dinner was good and the price reasonable for a hotel.

Wifi is only available at the lobby and restaurant.

The room that we had was spacious, and facilities are adequate.  We had problem with the electricity plug but it was resolved later.

The pool is more for dipping rather than for swimming.  It is maximum 20 metres in length.

There is a gym which has basic equipment. I did not use it.

The hotel is facing a lake and offers good view.

The path is used for the elephant safari where the start and end point was nearby.

I would recommend Hotel Sorowa for its comfort and nice surrounding.

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Sri Lanka Day 3: Beautiful sculpture at Aukana

After lunch, as we had time to spare, we proceeded to Aukana, a 40 minute scenic drive from Dumbulla.  Upon reaching Aukana, we were surprised to see a monk who used to base at a Temple near our home.  What fate and coincidence! 

Sri Lanka Day 3: Beautiful Dumbulla Caves

After Sigiriya, we decided to visit Dumbulla Cave before lunch.  The place is easily recognised with the giant Thai-style Golden Buddha statue that can be seen far away.   It is constructed recently. .

You purchase the entrance tickets at the tourist office.

Dumbulla, a World Heritage Site, is divided into the old and new section.  The photo above showed the newer section.  If you have a vehicle, you could drive up mid point to visit the Dumbulla Caves, which is the main purpose of visit.
From there, it was a fair bit of inclined but manageable walk to the caves (15 minutes) and the route did not provide much shelter from the sun. 

Sri Lanka Day 3: Sigiriya

We had an early start to Sigiriya so as to avoid the midday sun as much as possible.

The World Heritage Site Sigiriya was considered one of the key tourist attractions in Sri Lanka.  It was once the capital of Sri Lanka for a very short time.

The citadel was built magnificently on a gigantic rock, set in a dramatic fashion.

Tuesday, 19 March 2013

Sri Lanka Day 2: Polonnaruwa (Gal Vihara)

It was close to evening time when we arrived at Gal Vihara, another highlight of Polonnaruwa.  We walked passed a beautiful lotus pond to the site.

There were 4 statues at the site, and they were cut from one long slab of granite.  Picture at the right only showed 3 of them.  You could imagine how large a scale it is.

The statues were preserved very well.

Individual shots of the 4 statues:

With this, we ended our wonderful visit to Polonnaruwa.

Read more: Sri Lanka Travels