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Notes on the Geography of Sri Lanka: Gampola

Back in the 14th century, when temples like Gadaladeniya were being built, Gampola was a royal city.  There's not much regality left, but there is a surprisingly ornate Hindu temple and a good deal of cultivable land that, in this hilly country, must once have put the city in the center of its own granary.

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Downtown: the central crossroads.

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Let's follow those trucks.

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They take us to this paint-deprived Hindu temple, built for the plantation-based Tamils.

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Inside, a quiet courtyard.

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The back of the inner sanctum.

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Shady colonnades.

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Before the inner sanctum, a quartet of elaborately carved columns.

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A few miles downstream, along the Mahaweli.  A temple sits on the floodplain--the river running at the foot of the ridge.

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The form echoes Embekke.

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Ornamentation is minimal, however.

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You won't find many places in the old Kandyan Kingdom with land like this--certainly nowhere near Kandy.  In the background, the fields are growing manioc, a popular crop here, with profits much higher than those from paddy.

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A close-up of the manioc (the source of tapioca).

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A very unusual sight for central Sri Lanka: perhaps ten acres laid out in exceptionally large paddies.

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We've come upstream from Gampola, where again there's a lot of cultivable land.

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The farmer is letting a second crop sprout spontaneously from the last crop's stubble.


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