31st July, 2015: After visiting Aluvihare Rock Temple in Matale, I took a bus to Dambulla. During the 11/2 hours of harmonious bus journey, I was preparing myself for the visit to Dambulla cave temple which will be the 2nd UNESCO world heritage site of Sri Lanka I am visiting. Yesterday I visited Sri Dalada Maligawa (Temple of the Tooth) at Kandy. In the next 3 days I will be visiting 4 more world heritage sites: Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Galle taking the tally to 6. I know it sounds insane, but I was really getting excited about the back-to-back visits to world heritage sites in Sri Lanka.
At Dambulla, I was welcomed by a big statue of Golden Buddha. It appears big from a distance but once you get closer to it, it is amazingly huge!!! The cave temple is located uphill. The trek from the statue will be very tiring under the hot sun, so make sure you carry plenty of fluids and maybe sun screens. I’ll be talking in detail about the cave temple in my next post since the huge golden statue of Buddha is taking lots of space in this post ;-).
Closer look at Dharma Chakra Mudra
The work of The Golden Buddha (made of concrete & bricks and gold-plated) in Dharma Chakra Mudra posture started in 1998 and was completed in 2001. The statue is located on top of a 3 storey building that houses the museum and ticket counter. The path towards the statue was very much underwhelming – cave shaped structures made of concrete was a real letdown. But once you get near the statue, it’s totally a delightful experience. There is a stand in the front side where Buddhist devotees wearing white cloths placed flowers and incense sticks. I sat among the devotees who were bowing down with respect and tourists who were awestruck. The Buddhist chants helped my mind slip into meditative state. I felt refreshed even under scorching sun. Rejuvenated, I trekked towards the Dambulla cave temple… (to be continued)
Buddham Saranam Gacchami
Sirgiriya, 15kms away