Friday, May 25, 2018

Pilgrimage place in Sri Lanka - Dambulla Cave Temple

Anuradhapura (old bus stand) to Dambulla - Sri Lanka

After browsing enough pilgrimage sites in Anuradhapura (took us 1.5 days to visit 6 places and Mihintale), we continued our journey to two other places - Dambulla and Sigiriya. There was AC van available from Anuradhapura old bus stand to Kandy, but we would drop in Dambulla. It cost LKR 200 per pax but worth taking as the weather was too hot outside and we sure got seat all the way.

The bus left at around 10.30 am and reached Dambulla 1.5 hours later. By the time we reached it was lunch time. We stopped at Ninu Restaurant to have our Sri Lanka food. I had Chicken Kottu (stir fried shredded roti with chicken, egg, chili flakes, and many other sauces) while Sonam ordered a set menu (his favorite veg fried rice with veg, Devil chicken, chili paste, and fried egg on top), and we quenched our thirst with a glass of orange juice each. The weather was really hot there!!!

Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

We took tuk tuk to Dambulla Cave Temple from the town. The distance was less than 4 km away and we paid LKR 200. Foreigner had to pay LKR 1,500 per pax (it was expensive as it was the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka and also included in the list of World Heritage sites by UNESCO).

Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

"The area is thought to be inhabited from as early as the 7th to 3rd century BC. Statues and paintings in these caves date back to the 1st century BC. But the paintings and statues were repaired and repainted in the 11th, 12th, and 18th century AD. The caves in the city provided refuge to King Valagamba (also called Vattagamini Abhaya) in his 14-year-long exile from the Anuradapura kingdom. 

Buddhist monks meditating in the caves of Dambulla at that time provided the exiled king protection from his enemies. When King Valagamba returned to the throne at Anuradapura kingdom in the 1st century BC, he had a magnificent rock temple built in gratitude to the monks in Dambulla

The rock towers 160 m (520 ft) over the surrounding plains.There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding. Major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings. This paintings and statues are related to Lord Buddha and his life.

There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of God and Goddess. The latter 4 include two statues of Hindu Gods, Vishnu and Ganesh. The murals cover an area of 2,100 m². Depictions in the walls of the caves include Buddha's temptation by demon Mara and Buddha's first sermon." - Source:

The first cave - Cave of the Divine King at Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

The first cave was called Devaraja lena (lena in Sinhalese meaning cave), or also called "Cave of the Divine King." This cave was dominated by the 14-meter statue of the Buddha. It had been repainted countless times in the course of its history. At his feet was Buddha's favorite pupil, Ananda, while at his head, Vishnu, said to have used his divine powers to create the caves. Source:

The second and largest cave - Cave of the Great Kings at Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

In the second and largest cave, in addition to 16 standing and 40 seated statues of Buddha, were the Gods Saman and Vishnu, which pilgrims often decorated with garlands, and finally statues of King Vattagamani Abhaya, who honored the monastery in the 1st century BC., and King Nissanka Malla, responsible in the 12th century for the gilding of 50 statues, as indicated by a stone inscription near the monastery entrance.

Statues of the King inside the Cave of the Great Kings at Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

This cave was accordingly called Maharaja lena, "Cave of the Great Kings." The Buddha statue hewn out of the rock on the left side of the room was escorted by wooden figures of the Bodhisattvas Maitreya and Avalokiteshvara or Natha.

Dagoba or stupa inside the second cave at Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

The spring which dripped water from the crack ceiling (inside the cage) - Dambula Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

There was also a dagoba and a spring (inside the cage), which dripped its water, said to have healing powers, out of a crack in the ceiling.

Beautiful tempera paintings above the cave ceiling - Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

More ceiling painting inside second cave at Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

Distinctive tempera paintings on the cave ceiling dating from the 18th century depicted scenes from Buddha's life, from the dream of Mahamaya to temptation by the demon Mara. Further pictures relate important events from the country's history.

The third cave, the Maha Alut Vihara, the Great New Monastery at Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

The third cave, the Maha Alut Vihara, the "Great New Monastery" acquired ceiling and wall paintings in the typical Kandy style during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747–1782), the famous Buddhist revivalist. In addition to the 50 Buddha statues, there is also a statue of the king.

The fourth cave at Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

The fifth cave at Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

The above were the fourth and fifth cave.

Dambulla Cave Temple - Sri Lanka

And the above showed you the outer part of the cave, how it looked like. The expensive ticket, climb under hot sun was worth it! :) From there we walked down through the road path that led us to the Golden Buddha Temple. It took us around 10 minutes there.

The Golden Buddha Temple - Dambulla, Sri Lanka

We went up to see the Golden Buddha statue and circumambulated one round. There was small book shop inside the building but most books were in Sinhalese language.

The Golden Buddha Temple - Dambulla, Sri Lanka

People offered the alms to monks statues - Golden Buddha Temple at Dambulla, Sri Lanka

At the front part of the temple, there was a golden stupa. Fyi, the toilet there was charging so expensively!! They charged LKR 100 per pax while usually public toilet charged us LKR 20 ^^"

Sonam and I with the Golden Stupa at Dambulla, Sri Lanka

With the above picture, our visit to the Cave and Golden temples in Dambulla was over. We moved on to another site. Stay tune! :)

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