Incredible Proud History Full of Spirit - Sacred City of Anuradhapura, Sri Lanka

Sri Lanka is a country with a rich and great ancient history spanning 1000 years. One of the most famous historic capitals is the sacred Buddhist city Anuradhapura is estimated 2500-3000 years old. It was the Sri Lanka's very first capital of 4th century BC to 11th century AD.

Anuradhapura was the heart of gorgeous Sinhalese Buddhist civilization. It is an attractive place to visit if you wish to learn a bit more about the interesting history and rich culture of this beautiful country.Ruled by 113 successive Kings and 4 queens, Anuradhapura is a majestic place of magnificent palaces,  beautiful gardens, giant stupas, elegant sculptures and grand Buddhist Temples. It is in the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka, Kandy, Sigiriya ,Dambulla, Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa.

 

The 3 major ‘Stupa’ (a dome-shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine)- 'Ruwanweliseya', 'Mirisawetiya', 'Jethawanaramaya' are the biggest architectural creations of the ancient world smaller in size only to the pyramids of Giza. 

The 1st ruler of Anuradhapura was the King Pandukabhaya in 377AD. His grand son King Dewanampiyatissa was ruling the country when Buddhism was brought to Sri Lanka by Arhath Mihindu thero. From this moment onwards all kings sponsored to the temples and they thought constructing temples, stupas, buddha statues were in their responsibilities. Simultaneously great civilization developed based on one of the greatest religions of South East Asia, Buddhism.

 

Sacred Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi

The main reason for the historical city of Anuradhapura to become a sacred city was the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi. It is one of the most sacred Buddhist religious sites in Sri Lanka and the world.

Sri Maha Bodhi Tree on Golden supports

Lord Gautama Buddha is admired as the greatest human being appeared on earth. He attained Samma Sambouddha (enlightenment) while meditating with his back against it under the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi tree by the river Neranjana in the Buddhagaya. Anuradhapura Jaya sri Maha Bodhi is the southern branch of the Sri Maha Bodhi tree located in Dambadiwa.


According to the Buddhist history, this Bodhi tree is the only living artifact that touched the Lord Buddha. Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is the oldest living human planted tree in the world with a known planting date.

The Bodhi tree is a species of fig native to the Indian ubcontinent belongs to fig or mulberry family. It aslo known as Pippala tree, peepal tree, 'Ashastha' in Sanskrit, and 'Esathu' in Sinhala.This Sacred Fig tree known Botanically asFicus religiosa’ taking into account its religious significance.
 

Bodhi Premises

Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi premises represents of 5 stages. They are Welimaluwa, Viharamaluwa, Devalamaluwa, Ranvetamaluwa, and Udamaluwa. Jaya Siri Maha Bodhi tree is living in ‘Udamaluwa,’ and it is the highest level of the premises.This level guarded by ‘Ranvetamaluwa’ with golded railings. You cannot get too close to the tree itself. People can worship the Bodhi tree by offering flowers and Pooja at Viharamaluwa and also Devalamaluwa. The temple is in Viharamaluwa. 

 

We can see the crowds of people paying homage and chanting at the welimaluwa in anytime of the day. This is one of the most magnificent place in Anuradhapura.

The Temple is open to everyone to visit. As at any place of Buddhist worship before entering the compound, pilgrims have to remove shoes and hats. Better go in white dress appropriately as a sign of respect. 

 

The Sacred Bodhi tree brought to Sri Lanka

After  the King Dewanampiyatissa was taught the values and principles of Buddhism by Arahat Mihindu thero, he ruled the country with the teachings took up by the Buddhism. Arhat Mihindu thero was son of Emperor Ashoka in India. After that King Dewanampiyatissa and King Ashoka became good friends. As a result,King Ashoka decided to give a sapling of the sacred Bodhi tree to the Sri Lankan king in good faith.

The sacred Bodhi sapling has been ceremonially brought to Anuradhapura by Arahant Sanghamitta Maha Therani (Daughter of King Ashoka) in 288 BC. King Dewanampiyatissa planted this Bodhi tree in the historical Mahamewuna Royal Park in Anuradhapura in the month of December. After short period, the original tree inn India was destroyed by Queen Thishyarakha, a wife of Emperor Dharmashoka observing a different faith.

Now Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi is more than 2,300 years old age. It is one of the most sacred relics to the Buddhists around the world, as well as the Sacred Tooth Relic in Kandy. 


Seedlings from this Bodhi tree have been planted in temples throughout Sri Lanka and in another countries in the world. It is forbidden for a Buddhist to cut or harm any part of the tree. Before cut a Bodhi tree, they do some traditional customs and pooja.

To get better view, go there at night time and walk around the tree.Very peaceful experience and a lot to observe and learn. Not only see it also you can feel the calmness under the Sri Maha Bodhi.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

According to Mahavanshaya, the great record of the Sri Lanka, the city of Anuradhapura was named after a Minister called Anuradha who founded this area as a 'Graama' (village) settlement.

Anuradhapura is One of Eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites in Sri Lanka and is one of the oldest continuously inhabited cities in the world. It’s one of the most ancient capitals of Sri Lanka, which makes it no surprise that it’s named a UNESCO world heritage site title.

In 1073 AD this capital city was abandoned when the capital was transferred to Polonnaruwa.

Yathuru Pokuna(Key Pond)

How to Get from Colombo to Anuradhapura

The city of Anuradhapura is situated 206 km (129miles) away from Colombo and 57km (36miles) away from the Sigiriya Lion Rock in the north central province of Sri Lanka. When you want to get from Colombo to Anuradhapura, you have a many options to consider.

By Bus

Taking a bus from Colombo to Anuradhapura is cheaper than others. National Transport Commission operates a bus from Colombo Bastian Mawatha Bus Terminal to Anuradhapura 4 times a day. Tickets cost $3 - $6 and the journey takes 5-6 hours. Buses normally make bathroom and tea/snack stops along the way.

By Train

Sri Lanka Railways operates a train from Fort Station to Anuradhapura every 4 hours. Tickets cost $3 - $6 and the journey takes 3-4 hours. Book your tickets in advance in the Intercity express trains. First Class ticket is about 1000 LKR.($8.00) include WiFi and a choice of snacks and drinks. You can enjoy the beautiful scenery and fresh air comes through the opened windows.

By Taxi or Tuk Tuk

Catching a taxi is the easiest way to get from Colombo to Anuradhapura. Book a taxi or a Tuk tuk to take you from Colombo to Anuradhapura any time of the day.You can choose the type and the size of your vehicle according to the price and comfortable you'd like to.

Exploring Anuradhapura

This ancient city is a vast network of ancient temples, dagobas, pools, castles, tanks, Buddha statues, and many more things. All these shows us at the impressiveness of the city at height of its power during ancient eras. The picturesque ruins are spread out over a 40 sq kms(16 Sq miles) large area. The ruins of Anuradhapura are considered as one of South Asia’s most reminiscent sights. Today, several of the sites remain in use as holy places museums and temples, among them the most famous and most visited are the Eight Sacred Sites spotted in Anuradhapura.

The city also had some of the most complex irrigation systems of the ancient world. Most of the great reservoir tanks still survive today, and some many be the oldest surviving reservoirs in the world.The city is surrounded by 4 large man made reservoirs the largest of which is the 'Nuwara wewa'.Three other lakes are (Lake/tank) 'Thisa Wewa' ,Bulankulama Wewa and 'Basawakkulama Wewa'. West side of the city covered by Malwathu Oya(creek) flows through it.

Great development of Anuradhapura took place during the reigns of the iconic kings such as Dutugemunu, Walagamba, Wasabha, Mahasen and Dhatusena. Archeological excavations conducted in the inner city have discovered evidence of human settlements of the prehistoric era.


The eight great places of respect or 'Atamasthana' in Anuradhapura is a must visit. They are Jaya Sri Maha Bodhi, Ruwanweliseya, Thuparamaya, Lowamahapaya, Abahaygiri Dagoba, Jethavanarama, Mirisawetiya Stupa and Lankaramaya.

 

Thuparamaya

This elegant little stupa was the first such monument in Sri Lanka and was built by King Devananpiyatissa in 3rd century BC to enshrine the Buddha's collarbone.The stupa was originally 'Heap of Paddy' shaped but was restored to the bell shape when it was renovated in 1862. It is surrounded by the pillars of a 'Watadage' which was added in the 7th century.

Thuparamaya

The Jetavanarama Stupa

The Jetavana stupa, is the largest stupa in the Buddhist world in both its dimensions and its mass. This dagoba orriginally stood over 100m(328 feet) high when it was constructed in 3rd century. It has been calculated that it is made up of 160 million bricks. At present the stupa is being renovated although the work it likely to take many years. According to the history, the Jetavanarama Dagoba was the 3rd tallest structure in the world after the pyramids in Egypt at the time of it was constructed.

Jetavanarama Stupa

Anuradhapura Tanks

Anuradhapura is surrounded by four tanks that were built to store water for the irrigation of fields surrounding the city. The largest of these tanks is Nuwara Wewa that lies to the east and is spread over an area of 120sq km(46sq miles) which was built around 20 BC. To the South lies the 160 ha(395 acres) Thisa Wewa, which was built by King Dewanampiyatissa. To the north is the oldest tank in Anuradhapura, the 120ha ( 296 acres) Basawakkulama Wewa, which is calculated to date back to the 4th century BC. Bulankulama Wewa is in west to the Malwatu Oya (Creek) flows through the city.

Isurumuniya Monastery

Isurumuniya Monastery is a Buddhist temple situated near to the Thisa Wewa. It was built by King Devanampiyatissa. The temple complex is small but really diverse and interesting. Isurumuniya is different to the other temples in Anuradhapura by unusual design and is well worth to visit. This place is globally famous for it's rock carving called "Isurumuniya Lovers". It is is a marvelous rock carving, a woman is seated on the man’s right leg and her legs are held tightly against each other. It is incredibly detailed art, dating back to the 8th Century AD. 

Isurumuniya Lovers

 

Don’t forget to visit adjacent Royal Park - Ranmasu uyana and Thisa Wewa. Ample parking and picturesque view. 

 

Ruwanweli Seya

The construction of this Dagoba began of King Dutugemunu in 2nd century BC, but he died before it could be completed. Then his brother Saddha Tissa created a false dome so that the dagoba covered with white clothes and appeared finished to the king as he lay on his deathbed. The ailing King Dutugamunu was very happy that the Stupa was completed. The Ruwanweliseya is adjacent to the Jaya Sri Maha Bodhiya in the Mahamevuna Uyana.

The Ruwanweli Seya has a 90m (295ft) long diameter at the base and is 92 m (300 ft) high. The circumference is 292 m (950 ft ) long. The original stupa had been about 55 m tall (about 180 ft) and many ancient kings had renovated the Stupa.


Ruwanweli Seya

The relic chamber of the dagoba, which had never being archaeologically excavated is believed to contain a lots of sacred relics of Lord Buddha, treasured inside a pure gold relic chambers decorated with gold, silver and gems. According to the great sixth century Sinhala chronicle 'Mahavanshaya', strengthen the Ruwanweli Seya, that would stand the worst earthquake or natural disaster. The Ruwanweliseya is ranked among the tallest ancient monuments in the world. The Ruwanweliseya is one of the most honoured Stupas in Sri Lanka.

Lowamahapaya

Lowamahapaya is a building situated between Ruwanweliseya and Sri Mahabodiya. This building was constructed as a chapter house for the Buddhist monks.

The famous Lowamahapaya built by King Dutugemunu, described as premises of nine storied building with a height of 150 ft (47 meters) and each side with a 150 feet (46 meters) length. There are 40 rows, each row consisting of 40 stone pillars, for a total of 1600 pillars. In each level there were 1000 rooms and 100 windows and roof was covered with copper-bronze plates. This amazing ruins showing how advance the ancient technology with limited mechanization succeeded in that era.

Lowamahapaya 

Samadhi Buddha Statue

Samadhi Buddha statue is considered a masterpiece of sculpture dated back to the 4th century and depicts the Buddha in the Samadhi ( a posture of deep meditation). This is a very well preserved buddha statue. It's all about fine art work made out of single piece of rock. It is 7 feet 3 inches in height and is a depiction of the spiritual purity and serenity of Load Buddha.

 
Samadhi Buddha Statue

Samadhi Buddha statue situated in Mahamewuna Uyana between Abhayagiri stupa and the twin ponds in Abayagiriya monastery complex. This Buddha statue is considered a masterpiece of sculpture. Proper dressing is necessary to cover shoulder and pants/ dress below knee with no shoes and hats allowed at the site.

Mirisawetiya

Mirisawetiya dagoba is famous as one of the creations of King Dutugemunu who ruled the kingdom of Anuradhapura in 161-137 BC. This stupa is about 59 m (192 ft.) in height and 42 me (141 ft.) in diameter. There is a famous story behind the constructing of the  Mirisawetiya. 

 

King Dutugemunu took a vow to himself that whenever he consumed food, he would first offer very first portion to the Buddhist monks. However, it's said that the King once ate a chilli curry forgetting to first make an offering. In Sri Lanka chilli called as 'Miris'. As an apology for this mistake he later built this dagoba which became known as the Mirisawetiya and devoted it to the monastery.

Mihintale

The sacred hill of Mihintale is where Arhat Mihidu,son of the Indian King Ashoka, converted King Dewanampiyatissa to Buddhism in 3rd century BC. It is said that King Dewanampiyatissa was chasing a stag during a hunting trip in the hill of Mihintale when he was approached by Arhat Mihidu, who wished to test the intelligence of the king with a riddle of mangoes. Having passed this test Arhat Mihidu then taught the king and his group of friends the Dhamma.



He was converted there and then along with his staff of 40,000 countries. An important religious site, Mihintale attracts a large number of Buddhists pilgrims, particularly on Poson Poya day in June. Exploring the site involves long climbs, so it is a good idea to visit it early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

Walking towards the foot of the mountain you will arrive at the great stairway that leads up Mihintale. This stairway is 1000 feet long with 1840 steps and is one of the largest and most impressive flights of stairs to be seen anywhere. 


Mihintale stairway


There is an ancient hospital and here, Kantaka Chetiya, Aradhana Gala, Mahaseya Dagoba, Naga Pokuna , Lion Fountain and Eth Viharaya are the most famous attractions there. Kaludiya Pokuna is a beautiful place to relax and enjoy nature too. Mihintale is about 13km (8 miles) far from the city. But do not miss this place if you are panning your trip to Anuradhapura.

  

Today, the surviving inheritance are still spectacular even after thousands of years, and the sacred city of Anuradhapura is a top highlighted place on the must visit list of locals and foreign visitors.

Moonstone with carvings
 
Ruwanweli Seya

Abhayagiri Dagoba


 

 

A jewel in Australia crown Most Iconic Sydney Opera House


Sydney is the high spirited capital city of New South Wales and the most popular city in Australia and Oceania. Beautiful Sydney is home to a large and varied population and most populated city in Australia which means it's always full of excitements. We are so lucky to have an opportunity to live and enjoy in the  beautiful and world famous Sydney. Living in Sydney bring most spectacular things into our daily life. It is the country’s leading magnificent city and this is the place to plan the trip of a lifetime.

Today, when people think of Australia, the first image that comes to mind is the Sydney Opera House. A trip to Sydney wouldn’t be complete without visiting Australia's most iconic land mark Sydney Opera House. The waterfront of Sydney, with the glorious view of Sydney Harbour Bridge, The Opera House is a major attraction for visitors from all over the world. Today it is Australia’s number one tourist destination, welcoming more than 8.2 million visitors a year and one of the world’s busiest performing arts centers. The Opera House would be one of the most memorable things you will see in Sydney. 

 

Getting to Opera House

The Sydney Opera House is a 5-7-minute walk to Circular Quay which is regularly served by public buses, trains and ferries. 

By Train

The nearest train station is Circular Quay.It is wheelchair-accessible.If you are coming on the Eastern Suburbs line or from the North Shore you will need to change at either Town Hall , Central or Wynyard station and take a train going to Circular Quay. It is only a 5 to 7 min walk from Circular Quay.

By Walk

The Opera House is an easy walk from the city centre. You can enjoy a most picturesque route to the Opera House from the city area through many streets.

By Bus

You are coming from anywhere within the central Sydney area, a bus should be more convenient. Catch the bus to Circular Quay and walk. If you want to make sure, just ask the bus driver. The free 555 service goes to the Circular Quay.

A free wheelchair accessible courtesy bus operates between Circular Quay and the street level entrance of the Sydney Opera House West lift access inside. 

By Taxi

There are plenty of taxis in everywhere in Sydney. You can take a taxi to Opera house from the Airport or the Central Station.

By Ferry

An inexpensive and relaxing way to see Sydney is by ferry.
The ferries are combined with the public bus and train service and reasonably cheap.In the city, the main terminal for ferries is at Circular Quay. You can take a ferry from Manly, Parramatta, Darling Harbour, Luna Park, Meadowbank and many more places to the Circular Quay. There are number of ferry wharves in metro area.

  

UNESCO World Heritage Site  

The Sydney Opera House constitutes a masterpiece of 20th century architecture.On 28 June 2007 the Sydney Opera House was included on the UNESCO World Heritage List under the World Heritage Convention, placing it alongside the Taj Mahal, the ancient Pyramids of Egypt and the Great Wall of China as one of the most outstanding places on Earth. It was listed on the State Heritage Register in 2003.

Expert evaluation report to the UNESCO World Heritage Committee, 2007 says as "It stands by itself as one of the indisputable masterpieces of human creativity, not only in the 20th century but in the history of humankind.” 



Tale of The Opera House

There is an interesting story behind every iconic building. This is the revealing of that fascinating history tale. The Sydney Opera House, as we know it, was almost not built. The Premier of New South Wales, Joe Cahill, announced the government’s intention of putting Sydney on the world map by creating an opera house in 1952. He had a dream of a building unlike any other.

In January 1956, an international design competition for an opera house on Sydney Harbour held. Nearly 1000 entrants registered their interest from 32 countries. 233 entries were received. Many of them from the most famous architects of the time. A young Danish architect, Jørn Utzon, sent his concept drawings named as ‘sculptural form that would relate as naturally to the harbour as the sails of its yachts’ to Sydney just before the competition closed. But the three architects took one look at Utzon’s submission and immediately rejected it.

Eero Saarinen, an American architect, was one of the four judges. He arrived late in Sydney, after the preliminary judging had already taken place. Saarinen was underwhelmed by the shortlist so he started searching through the reject pile. He picked-up Utzon’s drawings and announced that it was the winning design in 1957. 

His design was for a compound with two theaters side by side on a large podium. It was covered by interlocking concrete shells, which acted as wall and roof as well. Another smaller shell set apart from the others was to cover the restaurant.

Construction of the Opera House 

On 2 March 1959, in a rainy day,a crowd gathered under umbrellas, to watch the ceremony that start of construction of the Sydney Opera House. Jørn Utzon had came in Sydney a week before with a bronze plaque was placed at the intersect point of the two halls. NSW Premier Joseph Cahill screwed the plaque into place and jackhammering immediately began. We can see the plaque still be on the steps today.Work was begun to excavate and level the site to bedrock to lay the foundations for the massive concrete base or podium. The podium, designed to look solid and fixed, was guidance by Mayan temples seen by Utzon on his Mexico tour.

 

The entire construction of the Sydney Opera House was bother with problems. First, the podium was found to be not strong enough to support the shells and the engineers realized the arches and sails would not be self-supporting, because they were too heavy. Then the problem of the shells, which were elliptical, parabolic and finally spherical. Utzon's original drawings showed them as relatively squat, free form concrete shells. The problem of the roof structure was finally resolved with the adoption of a ribbed shell system, with the shells having a uniform curvature constructed on a 75m radius sphere. But it took six years to resolve. This preliminary work had not been budgeted for, setting the building on a course of extended overruns beyond its estimated cost of cost of 3.5 million pounds.

Though it had so many construction problems, Premier Joe Cahill was in a hurry, fearful the project would get spoiled by political opposition.  68 years old Joe won re-election in March 1959  when construction began. But 7 months later Premier was falling ill at a meeting in Parliament House and passed away the next day. From his death bed he requested  Norman Ryan, the Minister for Public Works, to not allow the opera house project to fail. As his wish, from 1959 Sydney Opera House slowly and steadily transforming the promontory and becoming the largest concrete structure in the southern hemisphere.

But in 1966 Jørn Utzon resigned from the project construction of the Opera House due to the conflict between Utzon and the new state government and he leaved from Australia vowing never to return. New state government appointed a new team of architects to redesign and complete the interiors under the supervision of the government architect Ted Farmer.


Instead of the estimated four-year timeline and A$7 million (US$5 million) price tag, the project took a massive A$102 million to complete. With many problems and conflicts, The Opera House took 14 years to construct, from 1958 to 1972 employed more than 1200 of workers. After 15 years of construction, the Sydney Opera House was officially opened by Queen Elizabeth II on 20th of October in 1973. The architect was not invited to the ceremony, and it wasn't his name even mentioned during any of the speeches.The first performance in the complex was the Opera Australia’s production of Sergei Prokofiev’s War and Peace, which was held in the 1,547 seat new Opera Theatre.

World Famous Architect Jørn Utzon

Jørn Utzon was born on April 9, 1918 in Copenhagen, Denmark. His father was a naval architect, engineer and director of the local shipyard.  He attended the Royal Danish Academy of Fine Arts from 1937, as his family interest in art. After graduating in 1942 with a Diploma in Architecture, he worked in Sweden until the end of World War II. In 1949 he received a grant that enabled him and his wife Lis to travel extensively in USA and Mexico. At that time he made contacts with some of the most influential architects and designers and he could study about Pyramids. Strongly attracted by the way the Mayans Pyramid built towards the sky to get closer to the God, he said that the time in Mexico was "One of the greatest architectural experiences in my life."

Utzon's ambition as a young designer was apparently unlimited. Ten years before he submitted his winning entry for the opera house in Sydney, Utzon had entered a competition in London to design a replacement for the Crystal Palace ,but he did not win. The Opera House was his first non-domestic project, but he had won six other domestic architectural competitions previously. 

He had designed many famous land mark buildings allover the world. Among them  Bagsvaerd Church in Copenhagen and the National Assembly Building in Kuwait are highlighted. He made important contributions to housing design, especially with his Kingo Houses near Helsingoer too.

When The Sydney Opera House was declared a World Heritage Site on 28 June 2007, Utzon became only the second person to have received such recognition for one of his works during his lifetime.

Utzon died in Copenhagen on 29 November 2008, of a heart attack in his sleep after a series of operations in aged 90.

Do you know the amazing Danish architect Jørn Utzon never returned to Australia to see the completed Opera House in person, as he vowed never to returned though he did won a Pritzker Prize in 2003 in light of his achievements. The tale of the Opera House is one of breathtaking mastery while the Opera House remains Sydney’s best-known landmark today.


Opera House Tours

The Sydney Opera House welcomes roughly 1,200 visitors for tours each day -- some independently, others in large group outings. Taking a tour of this tremendous place is highly recommended and catering for all, the friendly staff members run tours in multiple languages, including English, French, German, Japanese, Chinese and Korean.

All tours provide you with an opportunity to visit some of the Opera House's many venues and theatres. Tour of the Sydney Opera House gives you an insider's view on one of the world’s most famous performance venues, where more than 1,500 concerts, ballets, musicals, and plays are staged every year.

You are taken into all the performance halls, theaters, backstage areas, and hear about the history of the construction. But when a performance is there, you can't go to visit that hall. Tour guides are fantastic and very informative. They teach us about the acoustics of each hall, what the chairs are made of, flooring, ceiling, how many pipes the organ has in the big hall and fun facts as well as some interesting stories. They have 5 theatres, restaurant and bar. There is something going on here all the time.The opera house is a multipurpose performing arts facility. Its largest venue, the 2679-seat Concert Hall, is host to symphony concerts, choir performances and popular music shows.

  

The tour is about 1-2 hours. We really enjoyed the history. Can you believe!!! The opera House weighs more than the Harbor Bridge, to give you an idea of the concrete and expense. The inside of the Opera is stunning, with super acoustics. The largest hall is absolutely beautiful. The interior is even more amazing than the outside.

Please keep in mind the standard guided tour contains approximate 200 stairs. If you have limited mobility there is a daily 12:00pm access tour pre-booking is required and not wheelchair accessible.

 

You can get some good photos in there anyway so make sure you take your camera with you , all bags need to be checked before the tour but it's free and secure. To be sure just book a tour earlier in the day. Normally tour guide gives us a few minutes to enjoy the view of the harbour at regular intervals too.Well worth the tour to make your trip to Sydney a memorable one.

If you want to see the stage and the performing halls, then you will have to pay a fee but to see the buildings is free.

Splendid Design and Beauty of the Opera House

However if you don't want to take a tour then explore the beauty of The Opera House from outside. You can get some good views from the Harbour Bridge as well as from a harbour cruise and the Botanic Gardens and can get some good photos and see the beauty of it.

 

The roofs themselves are covered in 1 million Swedish ceramic tiles made to Utzon’s specifications. They appear to be bright white on a sunny day, but are actually two shades of light brown, the color of the cotton sails they are designed to emulate. The tiles are self cleaning, as any dirt or debris is washed away by each passing rain storm.

They actually change the color as the day goes on, mirroring the sky. In the evening, the opera house transforms, as if absorbing the reddish pinks and oranges of the sky.It looks almost like it's glowing at night. It's really amazing.Most of people think the rooftop is covered in cement and they don't realize that it is actually tiles that are reflective.

The Sydney Opera house assigned as one of the few heritage buildings in the world to win an award for its efficient use of energy in 2015. Maintaining a steady temperature is very important for the many musical instruments used in the Opera House. The cool interior during the tropical summer in achieved using a special cooling system installed underneath the building. This technology uses the sea water of Sydney Harbour. Most people do not realize that there in an unseen engineering miracle under the magnificent shells and sails of the Opera House.

There are no gutters on any of the roof sections. There are gaps in the concrete slabs that form the walkways around the buildings instead. Rain water shed by the roofs simply flows through those gaps to a drainage system constructed at the lower level and removes directly into Sydney harbor.

Today the Opera house attracts visitors from all over the world to admire the building itself and attend the extraordinary performances held within. Not just a place for opera, many types of events are held here including ballet, classical music recitals, theatre, popular concerts, cultural shows, exhibitions and many more.

Performance Venues of The Opera House

The Concert Hall

The Concert Hall is one of the world’s most recognized and celebrated venues, host to more than 1,800 events each year and maximum 2679 audience can be seated at once. Now it’s the big home for contemporary music and largest interior venue in the Opera House.The walls, stage  and auditorium floor are made of Australian brush box timber.The high vaulted ceiling and the seats consist of a shell of Australian white birch timber veneer.Audiences can sit around the stage as well as in front.

The world’s largest mechanical tracker-action pipe organ is the one of the most highlighted and precious things in the Concert Hall and can you believe,there’s only one person in the world who can tune it. Only authorized performers are allowed access to the organ loft area, and the instrument may not be tampered with in any way. 15m high,13m wide and 8m deep The Grand Organ designed and built by Ronald Sharp. It, contains 10,244pipes, 201pipe ranks,131speaking stops,five manuals and a pedal draw stop console.

Joan Sutherland Theatre

The Joan Sutherland Theatre is the second largest venue with seats for more than 1500 guests.Previously it was known as the Opera Theatre,the theatre was renamed in 2012 in honour of Australia’s most loved famous singer, Dame Joan Sutherland.

This theatre is mainly used for grand opera and classical ballet performances. It is used for contemporary dance, contemporary music, awards shows, circus, talks and film premieres as well.

Drama Theatre

Up to 544 guests can be seated in the Drama Theatre. There are 4 wheelchair positions, two each side at the rear of the auditorium. The Drama Theatre is located on the Ground floor in the north-western corner of the Opera House, below the Concert Hall. Mainly used to stage plays, contemporary dance and musical theatre.

Utzon Room

The Utzon Room is a glamorous venue for parties, corporate functions and small productions of all kinds and a very special place to perform.Seating just 200, the western wall is adorned with a vibrant tapestry of Utzon’s own design. Glorious timber finished floor and the natural lights from Sydney Harbour always remind everyone to the great architect Utzon. The ceiling with giant concrete beams and glass windows give a spectacular view of Sydney Harbour and the Botanical Garden.

Utzon Room

Studio

The Playhouse

Yallamundi Room

There are also the two external venues, the Forecourt and Northern Boardwalk

Explore around the Opera House

Really enjoyed the walk around the outside of the opera house with the great views over the harbour, the city background and of course the beautiful Opera House itself. There are many, many concrete steps to climb even outside.


 

There are free street performances from some of the Opera house performers if you are lucky. And you can see Australian aboriginal people around that area performing their cultural dance and playing musical instruments like 'Didgeridoo'.

We love walking around the area in the morning and as there are not many people around it is really quiet.There is a really nice restaurant there so you can enjoy a meal while overlooking the harbor. It attracts millions of local and international tourists every year.

No matter how many times I have seen and visited it, it wows me every time. No matter how many photos I have taken of it, I always want to take more. It's magic lasts forever. Its beautiful whether you see it from the ferry, from Sydney bridge or close up.

The entire opera house complex is truly spectacular and well worth a visit. One of the beautiful place to visit once in a life time with your friends or family. You will never forget that you have been there. The Opera House is more amazing in real life. 

You don't appreciate the true beauty of the building until you are standing there in front of it. Normally we sit on the steps for a few hours close to sunset just people watching and relaxing. Enormous architecture, it was such a joy to simply sit and gaze at the Opera from different angles, at different times of day specially at night. 


The award-winning Sydney Opera House in Australia is a globally-recognized architectural masterpiece. The place exudes something magical. The truly beautiful masterpiece is described on the Australian government's own website today as "an architectural icon of the 20th century".


 

 

Calm and Quite Iconic Pride - Temple of The Sacred Tooth Relic - Kandy, Sri Lanka

 
Sri Lankan history goes back to more than 2500 years. Kandy has played a massive role in history, and all the legends and stories make Kandy a much respected and attractive place on the island. Located in the heart of Sri Lanka, Kandy was the last capital of the Sinhalese Kings from 1592 to 1815 and it remains one of the nation's most remarkable religious and cultural centers. Kandy is also known for its distinctive dance, music, and architecture.
 
Kandy is the second capital of Sri Lanka, situated at an elevation of 500 meters above sea level. Since it is set on a plateau, it is surrounded by mountains, tea plantations, and bio diverse rain forests. Rising around a scenic lake, beautiful Kandy is home to sacred landmarks, landscaped gardens, and cultural museums.
 

UNESCO World Heritage City

The beauty of Sri Lanka is that it hosts many attractive UNESCO World Heritage sites. Since Buddhism encompasses a huge part of the culture and history of Sri Lanka, there are numerous Buddhist temples which you will find throughout the country. Every temple in Sri Lanka is an epitome of serenity and spirituality. 
 
One noteworthy temple in Sri Lanka is the Temple of the Tooth Relic in Kandy. In 1988 Kandy is named as a World Heritage site mainly because of the temple of tooth This temple is home to the sacred tooth relic of Lord Buddha

It is knows as "Dalada Maligawa" in Sinhalese, especially among the local people. As the name denotes “temple of the tooth relic”, this is the place, where left eye tooth of Buddha believed to reside and therefore the temple of the tooth relic is one of the most sacred Buddhist temples in the world. The left eyetooth of Buddha was brought here from Kalinga, India in 2nd century BC and since then it is the honored spiritual element for the Buddhist devotees in the country.

 


Story of the Sacred Tooth Relic 

The Lord Buddha, after his demise was cremated at Kusinara town in the ‘sal’ flower garden of the Kings of Mallawa. There would have been a mass scale war if the distribution of the relics which fell out of the cremation pyre was not solved equitably, Lord Budda’s four Sacred teeth, Sacred Jaw and the Sacred forehead remained in the ashes. 
  
The group of Dambadiva Mallawa Kings arrived in Kusinara with their armed forces and demanded the relics. They were even ready to wage a war against any King who resisted of obtaining the Relics they needed. 
    
A Brahmin known as Drona mediated among the Kings and brought about a settlement when the Kings who were present with their armed forces agreed in the settlement suggested by Brahmin Drona. The Brahmin Drona used a measurement that was prevalent at that time known as “Neliya”. The kings agreed on this measurement and commenced the division. Then , to protect relics from others, kings made stupa (a dome-shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine) and relics were enshrined in stupa to public worship.

An Arhat thero obtained a Sacred Relic also from the cremation pyre. He placed the Sacred Relic in the custody of King Guhaseeva in Kalinga. 
 
The Minister in charge of the daily devotions to the Sacred Tooth Relic was Prince Danta. King Guhaseeva gave his daughter princess Hemamala in marriage to Prince Danta. After few years, he found that there was to be a war with King of Pandu and he knew that he would resist his aggression as many were involved. All this was to obtain control of the Sacred Relic.  
 
The first thing he did was to safeguard the Sacred Tooth Relic, he called his daughter and Son-in-law Danta and ordered them to take away the relic to Sri Lanka, which he considered the only place safe for the Relic and  to give it to his friend, the king of Anuradhapura, the ancient Sri Lankan capital. 
 
King Guhaseeva first made a receptacle of pure Gold for the Sacred Tooth Relic which was in the shape of a “Corn Cob”. That gold container was studded with red rubies. The top of this receptacle was round in shape and when stuck on the hair knot of Princess Hemamala, it looks like another piece of jewellery. King Kirti Sri Megawarnabhaya was the king of Ceylon (Sri Lanka) at that time. This was in 371 AD.

Prince Danta and Princess Hemamala brought the Tooth Relic to Sri Lanka
 
Since then the Sacred Tooth Relic has become one of the most sacred religious objects in Sri Lanka. But in later years it is not only a religious object but also a political value as the person who belongs of the Tooth Relic is recognized as the King of Ceylon( Sri Lanka).  
 
According to the Sri Lankan law, even today, the owner of the sacred tooth relic inherited the crown to the throne. Therefore, anyone who comes to power in Sri Lanka becomes the legal guardian of the Tooth Relic. He had a genetic heritage to protect the Tooth Relic and preserving it was a protection of his kingdom. Because of this, the Temple of the Tooth was always built near the royal palace. It received special protection.
 
However, the Sacred Tooth Relic was never enshrined in a stupa (a dome-shaped building erected as a Buddhist shrine) unlike other relics, but always remained a movable revered object devoutly venerated by the Buddhists all over the world.  
 
Whenever the kingdom traveled from Anuradhapura to different places, the Dalada Maligawa was built at the same time. 
 

Construction of the Temple of Tooth Relic

Finally, the current location for the temple has selected by King Wimaladharamsuriya (I), the first King of the Kandyan kingdom in 1595.He built a two storied Temple for the Relic and brought the tooth relic from Delgamuwa near Kuruwita in Sabaragamuwa which has been hidden for protection. Now a days, remains of this temple no longer exist. 
 
 
King Wimaladharmasuriya II (1686 – 1706) built a three storied temple and his son king Veeraparakrama Narendrasinha (1706 – 1738), the last Sinhalese king to rule the country, built a new two storied temple seeing that the old temple built by his father has decayed. 
 
The last king of Sri lanka, Sri Wickrama Rajasinghe (1797 – 1814) built the Octagon shaped building called Pattirippuwa. Originally, the Pattirippuwa was part of the royal palace. It was used by the king to address his people. Today the Pattirippuwa has become a part of the temple and house in ancient "puskolla poth" (textures written in palm leaves.)
 
 

Unique Architectural features 

Usually, the Dalada Maligawa has some unique architectural features. Around the entire complex is a low white stone wall, delicately and simply carved with openings that give a filigree effect. But it’s inside where the magic happens. In a bold contrast to the exterior, the interior temple structures are elaborately carved and painted with exotic woods, lacquer and ivory.
 

The Maha Wahalkada is the main entrance to the Temple of Tooth Relic. It was built with the bridge over the moat. At the foot of Mahawahalkada steps, lies Kandyan architectural style “Sandakada pahana” (moonstone). There are two walls on the sides of the “Vahalkada”. The outer wall is called “Walakulu Bamma” (wall of clouds). This same pattern is also used in the wall surrounding the Kandy lake. The inner wall is called “Diyareli Bamma” (wall of water ripples). Both these walls are built with holes to place oil lanterns during the night.

 


Ambarawa with full of Kandyan arts

After passing the “Vahalkada” , you come to a “Makara Thorana“. Next is the tunnel “ambarawa“. lt is a tunnel with full of kandyan paintings. Passing this you come to the ground floor of the temple complex. The ground floor of the building called “Pallemaluwa“. This inner chamber is fortified with a large wooden door and decorated with bronze silver and ivory. The area in front of the door is called the “Hevisi Mandapaya” (Drummers Courtyard) where the daily 'thewawa' (rituals) is carried out.

Hevisi Mandapaya(Drummers courtyard)

 
Palle Maluwa

The tooth relic is kept in the upper floor in the chamber called “Vadahitina Maligawa” The door of this chamber is covered with gold silver, gems and ivory. The tooth relic is encased in seven gold caskets studded with precious gem stones. The outer casket is studded by precious stones offered to the tooth relic by ancient kings in Sri Lanka in various eras. The original Corn-Cob receptacle is still in the Sacred Temple of the Tooth in Kandy in the last casket of the seven caskets, where key of the casket is held by the Mahanayake(Chief Monk) of Asgiriya temple whoever comes to office.

 


Tooth relic is encased in seven gold caskets in Wedahitina Maligaya
 
On the right to the relic is the "Perahara Karanduwa"  kept inside a bullet proof glass display. Over the relic chamber there is a golden lotus flower studded with precious stones hanging from the roof ceiling.
 

 
 
The tooth relic is encased in seven gold caskets studded with precious gem stones

Traditional Rituals carried out Daily, Weekly, Monthly and Annually

Different types of traditional rituals that is series of actions always carried out in same way.Specially as the part of religious ceremony are being carried out daily, weekly, monthly and annually to pay homage to the tooth relic.These religious services have been carried out over 2000 years.
 
Daily Rituals
From ancient times offerings and rituals had been held daily, to the Sacred Tooth Relic.The daily rituals are held thrice a day. During the period of King Parakkaramabahu II, in order to carry out these rituals, a sacred shrine was built close to the palace. 
 
Even today these three rituals are performed on a daily basis.They are separated as, Early Morning Service, Mid-Day Service and Evening Service. The Temple officials in charge of the rituals carry the sacred items necessary as the normal custom practiced and do it punctually. For the Early morning services which begin at 5.15 a.m.with beaten of traditional drums and hewisi. During the ceremony drummers fill the air with rhythmic beats and prayers. The 'Buddha Pooja' begins at 6.00 a.m.To offer this Pooja, 32 bowl of rice, 32 different kinds of vegetables and curries and sweet meats are prepared. 
 
For the mid-day Service, the doors of the inner temple are opened at 9.30 a.m. The Pooja begins at 10 a.m. The meals are offered at 10.30 am. By 11.00 a.m. all the rituals are end and the doors are closed. 
 
The evening Pooja begins with traditional tom tom beaters playing of drums at 6.15 p.m. The first alms giving Pooja starts at 7 p.m. and the second at 7.30 p.m. After that the devotees can worship the Tooth Relic, the doors are closed, according to a practiced custom. 

Weekly Rituals

There are two rituals which performed once a week called 'Nanumura Mangalla' (bathing or anointing ceremony) and Hatara Poya (four ceremonies connected with the phase of the moon). 
 
Amazing night view
 
 
Annualy Ceremonies
Apart from these daily, weekly and monthly ceremonies, there are four major ceremonies held every year. They are The Ceremony of the first offering of New Rice after harvest called Aluth Sahal Mangallaya,  New Year Festival(Avurudu Mangallaya), Esala Mangalla (pageant in the month of July) and 'Katina festival' (Feast of Light in November).
 
Among many festivals, the 'Esala Perahera' is one of the important festivals held in July to commemorate Lord Buddha’s Conception, Renunciation, and First Sermon. This celebration is part of the social tradition of Sri Lanka. It is a colorful procession which includes number of elements such as elephants, Kandyan dancers, fire eaters, stick walkers, drummers whip crackers etc. The Kandy Esala Perahera carries the Golden Perahera Karanduwa on the Tusker. Now the Sacred Relic is NOT taken in the Perahera.
 
Glorious Kany Perahera

During the ceremony people line up for the chance to catch a glimpse of the golden case with the tooth inside and offerings of flowers are laid before the sacred tooth’s chamber. It was very interesting to go at this time of the day and it had a real impression about it.
 

Paradise for Art and History lovers

The entire Temple of the tooth relic is a paradise for art and history lovers. It is a masterpiece. It was built according to the Kandyan architecture and all the arts and crafts drawn in the temple exhibit the Sinhalese art technology of the Kandyan era.  
 
Apart from these, the other architectural feature of the temple of Tooth Relic is the wooden pillars. These are made in the middle of the table and are of the Kandyan era. The pillars of the tower are decorated with various carvings.
 
Kandyan types buildings in temple precinct

A collection of buildings and architecture within the palace complex including the old Royal Palace of Kandy, National Museum of Kandy, International Buddhist Museum, Temple of the Tooth Relic Museum, The New Buddha Shrine room and the Octagonal Pavilion namely Paththirippuwa can all form memorable parts of your trip if you intend to visit the Temple of Tooth Relic. 
 
The New Buddha Shrine room

The temple also contains a number of significant paintings and murals narrating events over the centuries in the Sri Dalada Museum which showcases the travel and history of the tooth relic.

There are also a number of Buddha statues and symbolic stupa structures where people come with their offerings and gifts including flowers and money as a token of respect while wishing and praying for themselves and their loved ones. 

Respect Proud Heritage 

Unlike most sacred places of other religions, the entrance to the Temple is open to all tourists regardless of their nationality and religion. There is a map of the temple at the entrance to help you go through all the buildings and structures on display. The tourists are allowed to capture photographs but expected to be respectful of the heritage. 
 
 
While taking photographs, it is recommended that one not directly turn one’s back to the religious figures and structures. Both men and women must have their shoulders and knees covered. No shorts or sleeveless tops allowed. Shoes are not allowed inside the temple. No headscarves, caps or head covers are allowed. You may wear any color but wearing a white dress or light color dress is a real good.
 

Beautiful Kandy Lake

The Kandy Lake was created by King Sri Wickrama Rajasingha ,the last king of Sri Lanka. The ‘Sea of Milk’ or ‘Kiri Muhuda’ are the other names that this most popular Kandy Lake is known as. The Kandy Lake sits at the heart of Sri Lanka’s hill country at the very centre of Kandy City, this glorious lake, previously an expanse of paddy fields. Over the years, it was reduced in size. It is a protected lake, with fishing banned. There are many legends and folklore regarding the lake. One such is that the small island at its center was used by the king’s helm for bathing and was connected to the palace by secret tunnel.


The Kandy Lake encompasses an area of over 6500 square miles and has a circumference of around 3.2km. At its lowest point, is seen to reach a depth of around 18.5 metres. Three main structure are present on the lake, namely the Jayatilleke Mandapaya, Walakulu Bamma and the Ulpange. 

The Jayatilleke Mandapaya was the King’s aforementioned personal walkway, with the lone island at its other end. The Walakulu Bamma which translated to ‘cloud wall’ is the structure which surrounds the lake. To the north, closer to the Temple of the Tooth Relic, the Queens Bathing Pavilion sits partially immersed in the waters of the lake. The king’s wives and concubines are said to have used the pavilion when bathing in the lake. It is The Ulpange. 

 

Ulpange

There is a walkway around the lake for walkers and runners and multiple attractions around the lake. The walk around the lake is pretty nice in the morning and close to sunset. The view is breathtaking and you will get lots of photo options at this place. It is filled with fish and surrounded by all kinds of birds. A walk around the lake is truly relaxing.


Must visit The Temple of The Tooth Relic

A place everyone must visit in Kandy. With tranquility and Sri Lanka's proud history. One of the best places I have visited during in my life time and it was so calm and quite place to stay for few hours.I would advise anyone who is planning to take a trip to Sri Lanka to visit the temple of The Sacred Tooth Relic, Sigiriya Rock and Nine Arch Bridge,Ella, it will be so worthwhile. I have unforgettable memories in this amazing holy temple of the tooth relic so much.And I was so lucky to visited there many many times when I was in beautiful Kandy.

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Not only is it home to the country’s most holy relic, a tooth of the Lord Buddha, but beyond the city also offers numerous wondrous attractions and sights, from tropical forests to tea plantations and spice gardens. Tropical plantations roll across the mountain slopes providing plenty of hiking and wildlife-watching opportunities, while upscale resorts line the Mahaweli River.

Sri Lanka is Pearl of the Indian Ocean, Centre of the Buddhism, and Land of Spices.





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