22nd September 1981
After a light breakfast in my room I felt well enough to visit several temples and the ruined city of Polonnaruwa. The highlight of the morning was definitely the reclining Buddha at Polonnaruwa, but we also visited a ruined palace that once towered several stories high and all built from tiny hand-made bricks. It was extremely hot and I tried to keep in the shade and not walk far.
Razeen told us about the king who had built the things we were to see and our very first stop was at a self-portrait the king commissioned, cut out of a living rock. The figure was most impressive and reached a height of about twelve feet, carved three dimensionally.
The palace was built in small dark red bricks and only two stories are now standing. We discovered a family of month old puppies and their mother living in a neat little nest among the walls, covered on three sides and roofed with dried palm fronds by some kindly disposed person.
Our next stop was at a vast temple-palace complex where we photographed iguanas and drank coke purchased from a wayside stall. None of us will try the king coconut or arrack because of the germ risk! There were a few beggars by the stall, including one old man in a wheelchair because he had deformed legs.
Back at the Village Hotel at Habarana we ate a mediocre lunch and then swam in and sat by the pool all afternoon.
(Because my pictures of this trip were -and still are - on slides, I have included a link to the Unesco site http://whc.unesco.org/en/list/201 where there are pictures of many of the sites we visited.)