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Photographer's Note

This is Maha Stupa, one of a few stupas at the amazing mountain-top (well, very large rock outcrop) site of Mihintale, about 10km to the west of the major ancient capital of the Sinhala kingdom, Anuradhapura. In the Buddhist lore of Sri Lanka, the mountain of Mihintale was the cradle of Buddhism in the country, where Mahinda came from India (the birthplace of Buddhism) and preached to King Devanampiyatissa and the people, thereby introducing them to Buddhism, and making this (along with the nearby Anuradhapura, which has three massive stupas and the Bodhi Tree shrine) a very sacred Buddhist site and place of pilgrimage. My information thus far has been supplemented by Wikipedia (which has more information and some other photos showing the whole place), as it is getting on two years since I visited this site, and even though I came with some of the archaeologists who are world-experts on this part of Sri Lanka, I am forgetting some things.

But from a personal viewpoint, this was amazing. I went here about five or six days after I arrived in Sri Lanka (my first four days being spent in Colombo doing little, waiting for the crew I was volunteering with to arrive), and this was my first time venturing outside of Canada and the U.S., having thus far only been to London, just before coming to Sri Lanka. So I was stoked and excited purely from the perspective of visiting incredible places. And this mountain did not disappoint whatsoever. For months after I returned from my five weeks in Sri Lanka and three weeks in Europe, this was one of the things that I remembered, and missed, the most. Some three hundred steps up brought us to the top of the mountain, which had views in every direction, including of the massive stupas at Anuradhapura sticking up from the jungle canopy. I was so drawn to the other mountains visible from the site, and to the farms and villages spread throughout the landscape, and to everything. It was truly an amazing experience at the time, for a young, idealistic traveller, finally getting to experience the rest of the world...

Longer, more personal note than even I tend to write, and I am a born rambler. But I am avoiding marking, am sick of working on my M.A. thesis, and am suffering a particularly-violent flare up of the wanderlust bug. So reminiscing, and posting photos from a few trips ago, helps me cope with this wanderlust until I can get away again.

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