With its heritage of British occupation, Intrepid’s Melissa Cannon never expected Sri Lanka to have such difficult-to-pronounce place names – but how wrong she was…
“The first challenge I encountered on our Circle Sri Lanka trip was at Panduwasnuwara, a ruined palace we explored en route to the fort of Yapahuwa, where the lion perched at the top of the ornamental staircase features on the 10 rupee note.
Tongue-twisting names such as Anuradhapura, Polonnaruwa and the ancient fortress of Sigiriya are some of the ancient city ruins that comprise Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle.
Polonnaruwa is famous for its massive stone Buddha images and has a brilliant museum where you can see models of how some of the ancient ruined buildings used to look when they were complete with roofs. The 1000-year-old site is extraordinarily beautiful with its palaces, temples and stupas and of course the 14 metre (46 feet) reclining Buddha that is the finest example of Sinhalese rock carving. Exploring the ruins by bike, we were caught in a huge downpour but were saved by the local security guards, who were happy to let us shelter in and around their little hut until the weather cleared.
Each time we stopped somewhere, I had just managed to get my head and tongue around the name by the time we were leaving and heading off to the next destination with a new name to learn. Despite my difficulties with the place names, Sri Lanka is a delightful, compact island full of contrasts and comes highly recommended, but what a relief for my brain to arrive in Kandy!”