Thursday, November 22, 2012

Dambulla Rock: Sri Lankan Diaries

I still couldn't get over my amazing experience in Sigirya the day before that I looked forward to the rest of our Sri Lankan tour for the next 3 days. We checked out at the Heritage Kandalama to move on to the tea lands of Hatton in the central hills of Sri Lanka.



But before finally moving on, we decided to pass by another famous landmark - the Dambulla Rock. Known also as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, this 1st century temple complex is built on top of a hill. And so, that meant a lot of climbing again. 


The Dambulla temple is actually a cave carved on the top of a rock. I didn't really know what to expect again, so I was excited once again, especially since it was a World Heritage site. After climbing several flights of stairs under the hot sun, the wind suddenly became wild and cool. We finally reached the summit, entered the gates that led to this peaceful courtyard. 


We were asked to leave our shoes behind, so it was a good thing I was wearing socks. Though the floor was clean, it felt hot. The temple complex was not huge, and it actually looked more like a museum. 


We were lucky that there weren't a lot of people or pilgrims as the temple complex can get really crowded especially on holy days. The sun was high and burning the floor, but for some reason, the entire place felt cool.


The Dambulla temple has five caves carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. The entrances to the caves had arched colonnades and carvings. We entered the first cave, the Cave of the Divine King, which had a huge statue of Buddha lying down.


The next cave we entered was a larger chamber, The Cave of Great Kings. There were several statues of Buddha standing up and seated down and decorated with garlands and robes. 


I was imaging the whole time how this temple looked like when it was built. There were intricate paintings on the wall of several patterns of flowers and other shapes that amazed me.



The next cave looked similar to the Cave of the Great Kings, but smaller in size. It also had the same standing and seated Buddhas. But we weren't able to explore it since the monks were about to pray. We were asked to leave.


The last cave we entered was called the New Monastery, again, smaller and had a pungent smell. The paintings were more colorful and intricate here. I wasn't able to stand the smell, so I stood outside the entrance.


I found the the Dambulla cave temple complex fascinating. I was still in awe at the rich Buddhism heritage of Sri Lanka. The buddha statues and wall paintings were very interesting since it had a lot of details. 


After relishing the cool weather, we decided to head back down to begin our journey to the tea lands. By this time, I was already succumbing myself to the surprises that Sri Lanka has been giving me. And I couldn't wait for the next.

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