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Memories of my travels between 1972 and 1982

Sunday, 9 January 2011

January 9th: Anuradhapura in Sri Lanka

On January 9th 1982 I was in Anuradhapura in central Sri Lanka.

I had thought Anuradhapura would primarily be about its ruins of an ancient capital, so I had not anticipated the amount of pilgrimage activity.  It was a Poya day, meaning it was a holiday for the full moon and that night was due to be an eclipse.  The central focus appeared to be an ancient bo-tree.  I wrote this that evening: 
I was unprepared for the activity around the Mahabodhi tree, a real pilgrimage centre as dynamic as many in India, flocks of people dressed in white, kneeling and praying and sitting and watching and getting all excited when a little procession started with drums.  A woman chanting something amongst the bowls of burning oil.  "She was dumb and can now speak" said someone passing knowledgeably to me in English, she had a little group of 10 or so admirers.  All the bo-trees around, the ground covered in fallen leaves.  Outside pilgrims were sitting on the ground being fed, and later sitting in groups where there was shade being addressed at great length by a monk over a loud-speaker.  I made a considerable tour of the Sacred Area, enjoying walking along the roads which had the charms of rural Sri Lanka and in the end reached an area without visitors, only big trees and ruins and birds and butterflies and monkeys and more.  

Patrimonium Mundi:  Panorama of Anuradhapura

Healed Woman at Anuradhapura:  My picture

Under the Bo-Tree at Anuradhapura:  My picture

Anuradhapura:  My picture

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