How can you tell the sex of an elephant you’re following through the jungle? Or…

Or…cricket tourists off the beaten track day three

The last day of being a tourist before we hit Colombo tomorrow was a visit to Sirigaya and a climb up to the top of one of the most iconic rocks in Sri Lanka. It required an early start as climbing in temperatures of 30C plus and high humidity is not ideal.

There is a fascinating history behind the rock/palace. It was built by an early Sri Lankan king to rule over his people. He ruled for 18 years but the palace on top of the mountain took seven years to build. It would take twice that long for planning permission in the UK. And took just 1000 men to build it.

The climb at some stages is vertical! So the construction and later living support issues must have been immense. The king came down from the mountain from time to time to meet the odd commoner but generally everyone important went to see him. It’s an amazing place in an amazing country! The palace on the top included ballrooms, throne rooms, dance rooms as well as living quarters for the king and his 500 concubines!

Views from the top….and if you expect me to take photos whilst climbing the 1268 steps then think again. I have taken loads of others to be published in due course.

We reached back down on the ground by mid-morning so after replenishing lost liquid and a visit to the ‘happy room’, we headed back to Harbarana to experience a boat trip across a 1000 year old reservoir (built by one of the kings to irrigate the rice fields) and then lunch in a traditional Sri Lankan village and a demonstration of a few traditional crafts.

Lunch was traditionally cooked, eaten off coconut leaves with the right hand only.

I suppose the best way to describe or compare the village to what we see/have in the UK would be Beamish, the Black Country Village or working NT houses and estates. An interesting experience culminated in the answer to the question of how to tell the gender of an elephant you’re tracking? Well it seems that for lady elephants the dung and urine are on top of each other but for boy elephants it’s side by side! I bet you didn’t know that when you got up this morning!

Seemingly there’s a test match starting in two days – we are Colombo bound tomorrow and one change in the England team – Broad for Jimmy who’s rested. Makes sense with the Ashes next summer.

I wonder what fact I’ll learn tomorrow as the journey across this amazing country continues?

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