windows in some of the houses in the abandoned village of Sandima in south Western Turkey
Archive for the ‘Architecture’ Category
Another 8am start and we drove to Anuradhapura – a very scenic drive through paddy fields and small villages, with wattle and daub shacks built right next to some much nicer properties.
After all the recent heavy rains much of the flat landscape was flooded.
Our first stop was the ancient Isurumuni Rajamaha Vihara (2nd century BC) with its rock temple and square lotus pond in front of it.
There are carvings of elephants cavorting in the water on the rocks and
just above them is a carving of a man and a horse dating back to C6AD.
In the reproduction of the cave temple there was a reclining Buddha statue, murals depicting scenes from the life of the Buddha and a fabulous painted ceiling.
Anuradhapura first became a capital in 380BC but was replaced by Polonnaruwa in the 11th century. It is now a Unesco world heritage site. It was and continues to be a major centre for Buddhism. The ruins are spread over a very large area so we only visited the most important ones.
We drove to the Mahavihara, the central part of the complex with relics dating from 3rd century BC to the 11th century AD, and where the Sri Maha Bodhi tree grows;
this sacred tree is the oldest historically authenticated tree in the world. It is in fact not one but several trees with golden supports to hold up some of its branches.
The day we were there was a poya (full moon) and therefore a day of public celebration. People had come from far and wide bringing picnics with them and all the women wore white.
From there we walked along the avenue
passing a diorama depicting the story of how the first Bo tree was brought to Sri Lanka
and then the Lovamahapaya, the Brazen Temple so-called because it once had a bronze roof but today only a few columns remain.
The huge white Ruvanvelisaya dagoba was set amongst trees and grassland and we only viewed it from afar.
In the Anagiri monastery complex we saw some well preserved carvings and another moon stone. The moon stones in Anuradhapura differ from those in Polonnaruwa in that “A half lotus was carved in the centre, which was enclosed by several concentric bands. The first band from the half lotus is decorated with a procession of swans, followed by a band with an intricate foliage design known as liyavel. The third band has carvings of four animals; elephants, lions, horses, and bulls. These four animals follow each other in a procession symbolizing the four stages in life: growth, energy, power and forbearance. The fourth and outermost band contains a carving of flames.” (Wikipedia). The bands are clearly visible in this photo.
The last stop of the day was to see the 4th century Samadhi Buddha. It is said that when viewed from one side he appears to be smiling and from the other, he appears to have a sad expression on his face but I have to admit that I couldn’t see any difference in his expression.
Although he ancient city of Polonnaruwa is nearly 1000 years old it’s in better repair than the younger Anuradhapura which we also visited a couple of days later. It was declared a world heritage site by Unesco in 1982. I particularly wanted to visit Polonnaruwa because there are beautiful Buddha statues here. The complex covers quite a large area and is divided into 5 groups.
We started our visit in the archeological museum which described the history of the city and had interesting reconstructions of what some of the buildings are thought to have looked like as well as a large collection of Hindu bronze statues.
The southern group is approached via a road running along the edge of a huge man-made tank (reservoir) whose name in Sinhalese means sea (because of its size), where we saw many people taking their early morning bath or washing their clothes.
Inside this first group the Potgul Vihara is an unusual structure consisting of a rectangular shape with a dagoba (a Buddhist stupa) at each corner and one in the centre. The central dagoba is thought to have held sacred books.
Also in this area is a 4m tall statue of a male. Various suggestions have been made regarding who he is supposed to be – possibly King Parakramabahu I; one tongue-in-cheek suggestion is simply ‘man holding a slice of water melon’. The statue is unique in its lifelike representation as opposed to the more stylised representations usually found in Buddhist art.
Vatadage, a circular relic house, has a moon stone at its northern entrance, which is reputed to be the finest in Polonnaruwa. The design of the sandakada pahana of the Polonnaruwa period differs largely from that of the Anuradhapura period. The single band that was used to depict the four animals was removed, and processions of the elephant, lion and horse were depicted in separate bands. The most significant change is the removal of the bull from the sandakada pahana. The Anuradhapura tradition of placing sandakada pahanas only at entrances to Buddhist temples also changed, and they are found at the entrances of other buildings belonging to the Polonnaruwa period as well. (Wikipedia)
The Gal Pota (stone book), nearly 9m long it’s a huge representation of an “ola” book (the page of ola books are made from palm leaves). Part of the inscription states that this stone, weighing 25 tonnes, was dragged to its current position from Mihintale, a mere 100km away.
The Tivanka Image house contains a thrice-bent statue (this is what Tivanka means) of a Buddha; this form is usually reserved for female statues. There were some beautiful frescoes here, the only ones still extant in Polonnaruwa.
My favourite bridges:
Dare to be different! share an image illustrating ‘contrast’, challenged Ailsa this week
Cee set us a wonderful challenge this week: showcase steps or stairs.
Do you share my interest in steps and stairs, wonder to what possibilities they lead ……
Turkey is a country full of marvellously photogenic old things ….. from the travertine terraces of Pamukkale
to more recent old buildings in the abandoned Greek village of Sandima
Visit Skinnywench’s site to see how other people have interpreted OLD this week
Our trip to India earlier this year has supplied me with plenty of photos to illustrate the theme of PALE
Why not pop over to Where’s my backpack and see what other pale and interesting photos fellow travellers have found
Cees’ challenge is all about lines – horizontal, vertical, diagonal, straight, wavy ……
Ailsa’s challenge this week is TIME
In 1728 Jai Singh started the construction of the astronomical Jantar Mantar observatory in Jaipur, India. It resembles a collection of huge sculptures. The name was derived fro the Sanskrit yanta mantr, meaning ‘instrument of calculation’. Each of these constructions was designed with a specific purpose in mind, for example calculating eclipses, measuring azimuths, and sundials for telling the time.
Although we had an audio guide when we visited this observatory we were still confused at the end and not quite sure what we had seen but it was an interesting place and yes, I had to go to Wikipedia too, to find out what azimuths are!