UNESCO Heritage Sites #89-96: Temples, Stupas and a Bridge

To avoid constantly living in the past and to move on to the experiences in the present, I might have to briefly summarize my Sri Lankan and other experiences at the expense of my fastidiousness:

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The golden lighting of the Temple of the Tooth
#89 – Temple of the Tooth in Kandy – a beautifully-lit temple containing Buddha’s tooth and attracting massive crowds of gawking tourists and devotees during the daily unveiling of the casket containing the relic.

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The pastel morning hues from the top of Adam’s Peak
#90 – Central Highlands of Sri Lanka – out of the three sites for this World Heritage entry, we hiked the multi-faith pilgrimage destination of Adam’s Peak and the Horton Plains Loop.

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The rows of ancient Buddha statues at the Dambulla cave temples
#91 – Dambulla Cave Temples – a series of five caves housing a variety of Buddha statues in an assortment in various positions (standing, sitting and reclining). Outside of the temples is the most flamboyant Buddhist museum I have ever seen.

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The imposing solitary rock of the Sigiriya fort
#92 – Sigiriya – an ancient city-fortress built on a rock by an unpopular king Kashyapa who usurped the throne from his half-brother. Legends recall of the unwholesome shenanigans that took place in the nooks and crannies of the city. Don’t worry, Kashyapa got what was coming his way, as his half-brother recaptured his rightful kingdom eighteen years later.

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Ancient Buddha at the Gal Vihara in Polonnaruwa
#93 – Polonnaruwa – one of the ancient kingdoms of Sri Lanka, now an archeological park. Amongst the ruins of the palaces, temples and civic buildings, the hidden treasures for me were the rare preserved frescoes in the Thivanka image house.

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At 122 meters, Jetavanaramaya stupa is one of the tallest structures of the ancient world.
#94 – Anuradhapura – another ancient Sri Lankan state. The site is known for its colossal stupas, the tallest in Sri Lanka. It also houses Toluvila Statue, which is considered to be one of the most perfect Buddha sculptures.

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One of the elaborately-carved wheels at Konark Sun Temple
#95 – Konark Sun Temple – only three kilometers away from the Bay of Bengal in the Indian state of Odisha stands the temple dedicated to the Hindu god Surya and built in the shape of a chariot. Around its base, carvings of twenty-four wheels and seven horses adorn the walls.

 

P.S. #96 – Forth Bridge – this is one of the 2015 entries on the World Heritage list. During the 6 months I’ve spent in Edinburgh back in 2011, I have travelled across the bridge extensively on trips to Stirling, Aberdeen and islands. As such, I am adding it retroactively to my list of Heritage Sites.

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