It is an ancient budhist temple with seven statues that date back to the 10th century. There are no signs on the main road so unless you know exactly where it is, it is quite hard to find. After you turn off the main road, you drive a few kilometres on a very narrow side road. Once you get there, you pay a 300RP entry fee per person. This not an actual temple as we know it, there are only carvings of seven statues on the large rock. Ladies need to cover their shoulders and have knee high pants and you have to take off your shoes when walking around the temple. It was extremely difficult for us as the rocks were scorching hot and you can easily burn the soles of your feet.
Driving around the island is crazy. On this particular day we drove approximately 200km from 9am till 9pm!!! Most of the time our speed was somewhere between 5-25km per hour. Sri Lanka is very densely populated especially beside the main road. There are houses everywhere and you get a feel that you are driving through one never ending village. The biggest problem on this day was that the local curry started to work wonders with our stomachs. There are no rest rooms or petrol stations as we know them to stop and go to the toilet. And because houses are built beside each other with no more than 25m gaps, there is no way that you can stop beside a road... After a few excrutiating hours I told our driver that I really can't hold on any longer so he stopped and knocked on a random house and asked the family if I can use their toilet. They said of course and pointed me towards a little wooden hut in their garden. It would be OK if it only had a door. Unfortunately the door was missing and the toilet was facing the courtyard where the family was just having lunch. Oh dear, I thought. This is beyond embarassing but if you have to go, you have to go. As soon as I saw a hole in the ground ( I would call it short drop, not a long drop) and there was only a garden hose there instead of toilet paper, I immediately regretted that I left my tissues back in the car. To makea long story short, it was a toilet experience that I will never forget.
Nine Arch Bridge
The next stop on our itinerary was the Nine Arch Bridge in Halpe. If we didn't have our driver with us, we would have never found it. He stopped the car beside one of the side streets and told us to follow him. The next few kilometres we were descending through a very narrow and ocassionally slippery path in between several local houses and the tea plantations. I managed to slip on one of the rocks and my elbow was bleeding for the next couple of hours. I still have a scar as a nice reminder of this place. When we finally got down to the bridge, it was quite interesting. We took several pictures and then we realised that our car was way back up on the top of the hill. It was extremely hot and humid that day so climbing up through the narrow path was a real challenge. When we got back to the car, our driver told us to check our socks for leeches. And funny enough, we both had a couple. Once they attach themselves to your skin, they are very hard to remove and cause lots of troubles.
Sunset was quite spectacular. On the right hand side of the picture you can see how close to the edge of the lake is one of the crocodiles.
After the hike to the bridge we were glad to be back in the air-conned car. The road was winding and we managed to travel only 26km in one and a half hours. We passed little Adam's Peak and drove through several tea plantations. We stopped at the Blue Tea Plantation Factory but it was a public holiday that day so we couldn't see the factory working. Normally there are tours through the factory where you can see the whole process of making tea. You can have a nice cup of tea over there which costs only 80RP. If you want to buy a qood quality Gold Tips Tea, you will pay around 4500RP. The fog in that area was very dense and it was quite hard to see. When we reached Nuwara Elyia, temperatures dropped to 17C. We have to say that even when we had to drive very slowly, this was the most scenic part of the island for us.