Our Visit to Anuradhapura and Our First Elephant Ride at Sigiriya Rock

Now, it’s time to share what happened to us on the twelve-day of our family refreshment vacation last December 2019 in Sri-Lanka. We visited the Anuradhapura first thing in the morning, the ancient capital of Sri-Lanka famous for its protected ruins of an old Sinhala. An over an hour drive from Dambulla to Anuradhapura is required to reach the city.

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

The first place we visit in Anuradhapura is the famous, sacred fig tree at Mehamewna Gardens. They said the branch of the tree comes from the south of India. It is the oldest human planted tree and the most sacred Buddhist relics in Sri Lanka and respected by all the Buddhists worldwide.

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
The entrance to the relics.
The fig tree from India.
The sacred tree behind in this picture is the fig tree originated from India.
Moonstone flooring at Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi.
Caught our attention of this designed flooring called moonstone, according to our tour guide.

Vessagiriya Cave

Not so far from the fig trees is a religious site and one of the ruins of Anuradhapura.

The Vessa giriya Cave Sri LAnka.
It seems monks used to meditate here during ancient times.
Dent on Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi
The marks on the cave are protected. Mark that was made by sitting on the floor continuously when they do meditation and prayers.

Isurumuni Raja Maha Viharaya Temple

Another Buddhist temple in Anudrahapura Sri-lanka. An entrance fee is required for all the tourists when entering the temple.

Isurumuni Raja Maha Viharaya TEmple Sri Lanka.
The ticket to Raja Maha Viharaya.

There are stairs that we climbed before seeing the temple. During this time, there were a lot of local students climbing on the temple too.

Climbing the temple.
We were climbing the temple.

The Royal Park

It is used to be the bathing place of an old king of Sri Lanka during ancient times.

The royal bathing place of Sri Lanka.
On the other side of the temple is this Royal Park, which serves as an old King of Sri-Lanka’s bathing place.
The Royal PArk.
The entrance to the Royal Park.

Supplying the water to the bathing place is the lake near it.

The kings bathing place.
The royal bathing place of an old King.

Passed many carabaos going to the royal bathing place and even in the bathing place were many carabaos. The dirt or dung of the carabao is also everywhere in the royal area. We wonder why they didn’t protect the place that much. Some carabao chased us when we passed them, and our children were so afraid, so be careful if you visit this place. It became the place to pasture the carabao.

THe carabaos pasturing at the bathing place.
Carabaos were pasturing at the bathing place.

Sandahiru Seya

I went to another ancient Buddhist temple in Sri Lanka and the first stupa temple built in Sri Lanka.

Sandahiru Seya Sri Lanka

After visiting many temples in Sri Lanka, we took our lunch just in front of Sigiriya Rock. We asked the driver to his recommended place with delicious foods, and that is where he dropped us.

Sandwhih from restaurant at Dambulla.
Ordered this sandwich with french fries.
Fried rice in big serving at Dambulla.
Fried rice a la Sri-lanka served in big size. It was delicious, and we manage to eat it all.

We noticed the tour guide highly recommends many American tourists inside the restaurant, which means the restaurant’s food. Staffs were kind and attentive. While eating, we saw a few people riding an elephant passing in front of the restaurant. Right after we eat, we ask our driver to bring us to the elephant to try riding on it.

Elephant ride at Dambulla Sri Lanka.
The platform we used in riding the elephants.

No chairs or saddle installed on the elephant, so we are directly sitting on the elephant’s back. The elephant was so huge, and the elephant’s hair was so thick and sharp, scrubbing our legs when the elephant walks. It’s slightly painful, especially to the skin of my husband whose just wearing short pants.

A photo with Sigiriya rock as the background.

A lot of by-passers on the road took a picture of us. They were smiling as they watched the family of four riding the elephant. The caretaker of the elephant walks with us as he tamed the elephant. He is telling the elephant what to do. We needed to walk a little bit far from the platform to complete the tour, but we can’t endure anymore. It’s hard to hold on to the rope when the elephant walks. So we ask the guide to return us urgently to the platform and instead just took us a picture as a remembrance.

When the tour guide told the elephant to go up the tree, we shouted a lot as we thought we would fall on the floor.
Elephant tricks while we ride on his back.
So shock when the elephant does some tricks during our ride. We didn’t expect it this way.
Our tour guide and driver.
After our ride, we feed the elephant some bananas. The ride was crazy fun but dangerous for small children. It was a roller coaster ride to the elephant. I took a photo with the driver and the caretaker before we left the cute elephant.

Take note that payment is required for you to be able to ride on the elephant.

The entrance to cave temple.

Dambulla Rock Temple

The Cave temple in Sri Lanka is known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. A world heritage site situated at the center of Sri Lanka. Inside the cave are a lot of paintings and statues which attracts tourist all over the world. It is said that the images and figures are related to Gautama Buddha and his life. There are burial sites and skeletons found inside the cave as the prehistoric Sri Lankas used to live here.

Rocke temple ticket.
Adult tickets required when entering the cave.

The cave is situated in the mountain, so climbing stairs is a must when going to the golden temple of Sri Lanka. We started to ascend by 2 PM, and it was raining at that time.

The start of our trek.
The rock temple Dambulla.
The Dambulla Golden Temple. Beautifully preserved the statues and murals inside the cave.
Statues inside the cave.
Inside the cave.

Take note that when you enter the cave or any country’s Buddhist temple, the requirement is to walk barefoot. It was a rainy season during our trip, so inside the cave is so wet too. So imagine while we walk in a cave so slippery with a lot of tourists in it.

It was raining so hard during our visit, waited for the rain to stop before we descend.

Many local people are requesting a photo of our children, especially with our little girl, we used to ignore them as we don’t want our children’s faces to go somewhere else. Still, when a mother of Sri-Lankan with her daughter asked for a photo of our little girl, we humbly agree that maybe it’s okay. They are both cute little girls anyway.

A local Sri Lankans family requested for a photo of our child.
A friend that we don’t know we had in Sri Lanka.
The rock temple summit.
I took a photo when the rains stop. Clouds formed too after the rain.
Wild monkeys of Dambulla.
Many wild monkeys played at the stairs we used to climb, so be careful of your valuables.

Arrived at the hotel by 6 PM. We tried the tuna sandwich as a snack and requested via room service, but the food wasn’t that delicious.

Sandwich at the hotel, dambulla.
Tuna Sandwich by the hotel.

Overall the experience was awesome, especially the moment when we ride the elephant. I learned so much during this trip, and for sure, our children gathered some information about Sri Lanka. That they will remember every time they see the photos of our family taken in Sri Lanka even when they old and gray.