If you stay in Tangalle where else you can stay than on beach location. So I woke up around 5:45 am planning to walk to the fisherman’s boats but the they were right in front of the villa pulling the nets out of the ocean in sunrise. The process is long and arduous. First the boat is driven full throttle to the beach and is pushed by 6-8 people up on the beach. Latter all these people and many others come and help to bring the nest out of the water the occasional foreigners who are taking pictures being invited also to join the party. The nets are pulled from both sides by 4-5 people on each side. But when it came out is not much inside.
After the show was over I walked to the other two places were the fishermen come, where there were lots of boats and people, a very interesting photographic scene. Boats were coming from the ocean and the process was repeated in pushing the boat on the ground but no more nets were pulled out. Further, at the end of the beach is the harbor where the big boats are anchored and where is also the fish market. The hassle and bustle of the market was typical with lots of fish on the scales, trucks ready to load, all sorts of deals being made. I asked a guy who had lots of tuna and he said that the price is 300Rs per kg and one fish goes for 3-4 kilos. I was dehydrated and I had to drink some water and I walked from there directly to the villa where I had the classical Sri Lankan breakfast, omelet, bread, butter, jam, juice and coffee and I drank almost a bottle of water feeling much better after that. Michael, from Germany, whom I met last night and stays here 3 months was on the dining patio and we had a chat about TV and finance, him being the host of a main financial advising German website and used to work many years as anchor for financial news in Germany and CNBC. When my tuk-tuk arrived I said good bye and leave for a previously discussed tour to rock temple at Mulkirigala, “the Big Buddha” at Wekurukannala Vihara and Ho-o-Maniya Blowhole (2500Rs).
The rock temple at Mulkirigala is named Weherahena temple (200Rs). The huge rock with occasional caves, similar but smaller than the one in Sigiriya, was converted centuries ago in a temple.It has four platforms. On the first three platforms are located the caves that, similar with the ones in Dambulla, are painted inside. What makes this temple very weird is that the painting dates from the 19th century, a time when Sri Lanka was under strong European influence and all the paintings are done in Baroque style. You see Lord Buddha dressed in European attire and the scenes represented are typical for European church painting. And if this was not enough, on one painting, or probably on more paintings, is represented an 18th century baroque Madonna and Christ adoring Lord Buddha. The adoration is represented in each and every scene, a thing that you don’t normally see in Buddhist representations. In each chapel is a large Buddha statue in resting position, not in paranirvana because the eyes are wide open. Interestingly I did not see one reclining Buddha in paranirvanna in Sri Lanka, all are resting positions. However one cave has remarkable paintings of punishments for sinners. In total there are about 5 painted caves.
Wekurukannala Vihara is relatively closer to Tangalle and it hosts the largest Buddha in Sri Lanka, a 50 meter technicolor tiled structure (Rs200). It was built in 1960 and behind it is a 8 story construction painted naively inside with scenes from Buddha’s life. You can walk up and get straight into Buddha’s head and maybe get enlightened. On the grounds is an old temple in not a very good shape that has a chapel dedicated to Hindu deities. But what strikes the most, beside the gigantesque structure, is the newer temple. It was built around 120 years ago and it is super gaudily decorated temple with plaster figures from Hindu and Buddhism, more appropriate with what you expect in a temple in India. Buddha sits in meditation and is guarded by Hindu Gods that had already slayed some gruesome characters. The entire main chapel is surrounded by Buddha statues that have in front a man or an animal that prays to the Lord in a scene of adoration typical of European ecclesiastical art. The main chapel has a large Samadhi Buddha, faced by two huge standing Buddhas and one in resting position. If you look closer you will find also a corner niche where is Madonna and Christ in the manger. That’s the globalization of the religions during the colonial times. I spent maybe a little too much time in awe about the 19th century kitsch and driver who was hungry, these guys MUST eat lunch around 1:00pm, came to pick me up and quickly drove me to the Blow Hole (Rs200), a narrow formation in the shore’s rocks where water from the ocean surf can blow up up to 23 meters water columns in summer, but now it showed some limited action. We drove fast to Tangalle and after a short chat with Michael I went for a swim, a walk on the beach, the blog and finally dinner.