Wednesday, May 30, 2012


'Citadel' is another word I love, like 'dilapidated' (and there's plenty of that here too). It's one of those terms that feels loaded with historical intrigue, like 'labyrinth,' 'catacombs' and 'Maharajah.' Or maybe these words just take me back to early-90s dungeon quest Amiga games. Either way it felt very satisfying to be wading through overgrown fields and discovering parts of Anuradhapura's forgotten city.

At least it feels forgotten compared to the likes of Angkor in Cambodia. I didn't have to make use of odd angles and strategic cropping to avoid the tourists this time - no one was here except me and my monkeys.

Ancient Citadel,

This place was the capital of the Sinhalese Kingdom for the best part of 2,000 years, so they got through plenty of kings. A lot of them wanted their own palaces, so you can't walk too far inside these sixteen square miles without bumping into palace ruins and baths. Boy, did these guys like taking baths.

This one even seems to have been custom made

Royal baths at Magul Uyana

Twin baths at Kuttam Pokuna

Royal palace at Thuparamaya



Original Temple of the Tooth, before this sacred relic that definitely exists was relocated to Kandy, where it now definitely resides inside that casket that no one's allowed to look inside ever

Buddha at Asokaramaya, the ancient... um...

Sorry, I got distracted by the peacock

Still distracted

First class dilapidation at Asokaramaya

Old stone bridge across the Yodha Ela. (Yodha? Dagoba? Looks like someone lazily leafed through a book on ancient Sinhala civlisation when writing The Empire Strikes Back)

Note: Do not drive over this, you will drown

This will have been something or other.
I've told you before, I'm not Tony Robinson

UNESCO likes to put its stamp down, but I never see them doing very much

Another work-in-progress

Western monastery

Monks' toilet. Amusing, obviously, and interesting, but a little strange just how much time and care has clearly been put into restoring this, compared to other structures.

I'm not insinuating that someone involved with UNESCO and the Department of Archaeology's restoration efforts is a massive pervert or anything

Termite palace. While the transient splendour of humanity's mightiest citadels crumble into ruin, nature's overlooked... fortresses... I don't know what point I'm making

Oh look, langurs


  1. hi, i was doing research on baths and ponds of anuradhapura when i came across your blog. You got some cool pics here. I've been to all of those places. So i think i should share some of my knowledge about some pics.
    first, the "custom made" tub in your picture is called "beheth oruva" (medicinal trough) where (maily) patients got herbal baths to cure illnesse.
    Second, is about the monks' toilet stone. Well, it has a big meaning you see.. usually monks are supposed to give up all earthly pleasures and all the objects used by monks must be minimalistic and simple. However, their toilet stone is highly decorated (in polonnaruwa period toilet stones, you can sometimes see even more elaborate carvigns). The theory bihind this according to our archeologists is like this: A toilet is a place where you get rid of all the useless waste of your body, likewise you should get rid of all the useless earthly things which are depicted by the carvings on the toilet stones. See? i think this is why the place is well cleared up. Archeologist must have done quite a lot of research to come up with such theories..

    1. Brilliant, thanks! I had a tour guide / driver for the day, who also took me around the temples and to Sigiriya the next day - he explained a lot of things, but I guess there were some gaps.

  2. Mr Dave,
    I'm Kishan Amarasinghe from the University of Kelaniya, Sri Lanka. I study Archaeology. I'm doing an assignment on the Temple of the Tooth in Anuradhapura. I'm gonna need some photos for that. Would you mind if I take your photo ? :)

    1. You're very welcome. I only have that one photo, my guide identified it as the original Temple of the Tooth so I took his word for it!

      Archaeology is a really interesting subject, I hope you get to travel to loads of old places later.

  3. Thank you :))))
    It's the first Temple of the Tooth in SL built by King Devanampiyatissa in the 3rd century b.c. originally for Dhamma preaching. Later, when the Tooth relic was brought here, King Keerthi Sri Meghawarnabaya orderd it be in this temple .Since then it has been called Datadhathughara (House of the Tooth Relic)