en.infoglobe.cz » Srí Lanka VII: Poya Festival and Buddhist Temples - VIDEO

Srí Lanka VII: Poya Festival and Buddhist Temples - VIDEO

Published: 3.3.2015
The last day in the countryside of Sri Lanka was just in the day of the last full moon of the year celebration. I desired to celebrate with locals. I was in a non-tourist area. So I could rent a tuk-tuk for whole for great price, and with kind driver. I asked him to ride me to the first temple of the day. Hundreds people in white welcomed me, and thousands incense sticks and numerous flowers as well...

The tuk-tuk driver offered his help right after I stepped off the train in the station of Polgahawela. I would ride with him normally, but he was really extraordinarily kind, and I knew there is nothing interesting to see in the city. He promised to take me to the large temple and monastery of Mahamevnawa, the pride of this region.

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Half-an-hour later we reached the place. Buses were parked all around with tuk-tuks and couple of cars just coming in. The last full moon one of the most important holidays on Srí Lance. The tradition holds that this was the time when Buddha arrived at the island. Merchants close their shops on this day, leave the work just to go with whole family to one of the temples and light incense sticks, and lay flowers to honour Buddha.

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I left all my things, shoes including, in the tuk-tuk. Barefooted with my camera I entered the monastery through the golden gate. People didn’t notice me that much, nobody cared of me taking photos. The temple in Mahamevnawa is gilded, richly decorated. It is truly mejstic. Behind there is a large shaft and buildings where monks reside.

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This festival is the day of rest, learning, and meditation on Srí Lanka. The whole compound of the monastery gave impression of very peaceful place even though hundreds or thousands came there. Most of them were dressed in white, only some men arrived in dark costume. Incense sticks burned all around, every Buddha statue was surrounded with small flowers. Inside drift and around people were just sitting, prying, reading holy texts, or talked to monks, or friends.

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About an hour later, I got back to my tuk-tuk. The driver offered to take me to another old sanctuary where I would enjoy the vista to the surroundings. We bumped on horribly broke road yet it was worth it. Beautiful vista of rice fields around was what waited there for us. And not only this. We saw a large, white Buddha statue, and a temple that has statues and paintings hundreds of years old.

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We stopped in the “secret” forest sanctuary on our way back. Easily, I could consider it one of the most beautiful places I have ever been to. Upon short bumping along forest path, the driver turned off the engine of the tuk-tuk and the sound of silence surrounded us. Wonderufl silence of the holy forest, its breath and smell. Liberating feeling entered my mind so I could perceive more things at once – singing of birds, whisper of leaves, thousands ants on the ground and tree trunks. Even my Self. I really didn’t want to leave this place. I would love to stay there forever.

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I stopped at a local cuisine for a (very late) lunch before going to the capital. I was lucky to see the kitchen. They made the food on fire in what seemed to be apparent mess. Upon closer look, I realized people really cherish food and treat it with respect. I saw local bread being baked, preparation of humungous amounts of rice for delicious mixture of vegetables and meat. I wish food was prepared so thoroughly in my country...

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In the evening, I went to see a large temple complex in on the edge of the capital of Colomba. The area was clogged to absurd degree. Ride that would normally take 30 minutes extended to three times as much. Crowds were going in and out the temple. I didn’t want to go there to be smashed by waves of people. I believe it must have been wonderful there with all flames, and lampions. Yet the crowds wouldn’t let me to enjoy it...

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Text/photo/video: Matouš Vinš

Music: Vinod Prasanna Okey Szoke Pompey

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