Dambulla - Buddhist Mountaintop Cave Temples

Trip Start Nov 29, 2013
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Trip End Ongoing


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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dambulla is famous for its Royal Rock Temple, a group of Buddhist temples carved into the rock near the top of a huge stone hill. Dambulla is similar to Buddhist cave temples I've visited in India and China but on a significantly smaller scale. The five cave temples are considered holy and are a place of pilgrimage in Sri Lanka. Although the caves functioned as temples for almost two thousand years, most of the art in them dates to the 1800s.

The caves are located about 500 feet above the town near the top of the mountain, so it was another slow sweaty hike up to see them, but well worth it. On the way to Dambulla we also stopped at the Aukana Buddha statue, sculpted around 500 A.D.

After lunch there was an option to go for an elephant ride at an extra charge. It was just an elephant ride for the sake of riding an elephant, so I decided to pass and have a beer in an air conditioned hotel having already done the elephant ride experience about three months earlier in Chitwan National Park. Our hotel for the evening was another very nice one, a sprawling complex located on a hill near Garitale town, overlooking a large lake with green forested hills beyond it spreading to the horizon.
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