I was taking a break for a while before continuing my story in Sri Lanka. Even when you love to write, you can get stuck some times, empty brain and have no idea at all to continue your article. I had it when I want to write this article. People said, it is easy to write travel journey, because you already had so much material to write. Who said? It’s still need your own motivation to repeating information and experience you already faced so people can know it. I think, every kind of literature is difficult, because you need to fight against your demons (can be laziness, sort of inspiration, self distraction, etc etc)
Anyway, let’s focus to the trip and back to the story of my trip in Sri Lanka.
After Sigiriya, me and Dinda went directly to Dambulla. Before we planned to do Safari trip in Minneriya National Park after Dambula, because our tuk-tuk driver assure us, the time is still possible. Usually they start safari trip around 3 pm. We still have 2 hours to see the Cave temple in Dambulla. But later on, we decided to cancel the Safari trip and just enjoying our time more in Cave temple. Was good idea since the temple is so big and you can spend plenty of time there if you love ancient-beautiful-spooky-quiet-but-amazing-place, just like I do. I stood in awe in few hours to see the temple slowly and take a look more in detail. I just love the atmosphere and my imagination wandered to times when they built the temple and put all the statues together there.
We arrived in Dambulla Cave Temple around 12.30 pm, which is lunch time so the locket closed. We decided to find something to eat first. Finally we found one restaurant – but I forget the name. It’s not so close from Dambulla Cave Temple. We ordered rice and curry for 2 person, me and Dinda. Later on, the tuk-tuk driver wanted to eat too. Well, to be honest, as my experienced, usually the restaurant will charge different price (mostly cheaper) for the driver or guide or else, but we were kind of surprised when see the bill and the owner just charge us 2400 LKR, which is 800 LKR/each of us. Wehh, that’s a big amount for a meal. I suggest you to ask the price before you order anything, a mistake that I should never do it again.
When we returned to the temple again, the counter already opened. We paid 1500 LKR for the entrance ticket. First you will see the Gold Temple with huge of gold Buddha Statue. The interesting part is you can see lots of statue of monks up there on the stone, they seem like walk to Buddha when some spiritual leaders give them a blessing.
To reaching Dambulla Cave Temple, we should climb the hill. Don’t worry, it’s not so much hard work. There is also stairs so you will be fine. Along the way, you can see many wild monkeys on the tree or just hanging around in the street without fear to human. Just be careful if you bring food, cause they tend to steal it. There is also lots of neglected dog which make me feel so sad to see it. In Sri Lanka, different like in Indonesia, where people tend to stone wild dogs if they see it on the road. In Sri Lanka, people just see them as normal animal, but still, they are also so poor and sad to see because full with disease and some times so thin.
Arrived in Cave Temple, we should open our shoes and entrust them to a shoestaker for 25 LKR/pair. I was amazed with the position of the temple, since it is under a huge stone. Just like the stone designed to fit the rooftop of the temple. In the beginning, we can see a room where so many people out from there. Me and Dinda confused a bit about what’s inside, slowly we walk through the door and and we can see our first amazing Sleeping Buddha rendezvous in Dambulla Cave Temple. It made me hold my breathe for a while.
There are 5 caves (rooms) that contain full of Buddha statues and various painting. In total, there are 150 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of gods and goddesses in these caves. And later added 2 Hindu Gods (Vishnu and Ganesh) which I can’t find where in the temple. The caves, built at the base of a 150m high rock during the Anuradhapura (1st century BC to 993 AD) and Polonnaruwa times (1073 to 1250), are by far the most impressive of the many cave temples and as the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka.
First Cave called as Dev-Raja-viharaya (temple of the King of Gods). It is believed that the god Sakka (King of Gods) gave the finishing touches to the principal image of this cave. This image, showing the last moment of Buddha in his sleeping typical style before leave earth to reaching his nirvana. The cave contains, another five images. Although there are wall and ceiling paintings in this cave, these can hardly be seen as a result of damage done by the incense burnt by devotees.
Cave No. 2 or called as Maha Raja Viharaya, the temple of the Great King, it is by far the largest and the most impressive one amongst the other caves in this place. I love to see inside of the temple, because it is painted all over the wall by brilliant colors. Every statues still in good condition even majority statues here are Buddha with different attitudes. Honestly to speak, I felt like the statues are alive and look through my eyes directly when I stood in front of them and try to look them in detail. We can’t go to every corner, because the old ages and weather already created some damaged. Plus it’s kind of spooky even it is a holy place!
The last cave or cave no. 5 believed there is no historical story behind the cave. But the other 4 caves have lots of frescoes covered the old rock and almost whole temple. Dambulla Cave Temple listed as UNESCO Heritage Site Number 561 on 1991.
Once you finished visiting the temple, you can take a rest outside of the temple while enjoying the view. It is a great scenery and you can see the city since the temple located up on the hill.