Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 66

The Cultural Triangle is the area between Kandy to the south and
Anuradhapura to the northwest and Polonnaruwa to the east. In
Sri Lanka, this region is extremely significant as it was the cradle of
the ancient irrigation civilization of Sri Lanka that flourished 2,500
years ago. The name, Cultural Triangle, was coined as it contained
three of Sri Lanka’s most important historic sites making the angles
of a triangle. Contained within the triangle are even more ancient
sites and, in the time span of a few days, anyone can experience them
all. Studying the Cultural Triangle in the seventies while attending
University of Sri Lanka in the architecture program, I developed a
brand new love and admiration for the works of art that were built
centuries ago in Sri Lanka. Dr. Roland Silva, Sri Lanka’s well-known
archeologist and my history of architecture lecturer, went to great
lengths to discuss every aspect of these ancient masterpieces. He
made them almost magical. Every lecture made you feel you were
living centuries ago in the ancient ruins of Sri Lanka, a part of the
ancient kingdoms. The kings, the queens, the palaces, the lotus
ponds, the temples, the monasteries, and the ornate clothing were all
part of the stories. But when it came to the buildings, we were just
mesmerized, for he knew so much about how they were built and the
symbolic purpose of every detail.
My parents hardly ever took us to the ruined cities. If we ever went
on a vacation, it was always to the hill country to escape the hot
weather. After I married my amazing and adventurous photographer
husband, we made regular trips all over the island, often within the
Cultural Triangle. Thanks to my husband Tom’s love of history and
architecture, I was able to personally appreciate the monuments that
Dr. Roland Silva spoke of so eloquently and I love that my children
got to experience them, too. Together we made many trips to the
ruined cities and explored the magic of the Triangle.
Many of the cities in the Cultural Triangle are also a part of the
World Heritage Sites. The monuments, spanning a period of 1,700
years, are abundant, close together, and easy to visit. We usually
spent the day exploring and by evening stayed in a nice local hotel.
We put on our walking shoes and explored inside and around the
monuments within the different cities. Tom had to visually capture
the masterpieces and the surrounding beauty, so we had plenty of
time to experience the magic and to ponder the famous kingdoms
that once existed here. I remembered those lectures by Dr. Roland
Silva and was able to share the fascinating historical details carved
in my memory.
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