DAMBULLA CAVES As you get closer to Sigiriya, en-route visit to Dambulla cave monastery, A UNESCO world heritage site Possibly the greatest cave monastery in the island which inspires every traveler who visit there. Most travelers begin their ancient odyssey […]
As you get closer to Sigiriya, en-route visit to Dambulla cave monastery, A UNESCO world heritage site
Possibly the greatest cave monastery in the island which inspires every traveler who visit there. Most travelers begin their ancient odyssey with the visit to Caves.
It has originally used by King Valagambahu in the 1st century BC for his refuge. The king has built this magnificent monastery for the meditating Buddhist monks upon his return to the throne in Anuradhapura Kingdom.
Dambulla caves also known as the Golden temple of Dambulla, and is the largest preserved cave temple of Sri Lanka. The rock where the temple is built is towering over 160m gives a long stretched view in a very silent, mysterious setting. It is perhaps this tranquility that attracted many Buddhist monks to meditate and reside their permanently. There are over 80 documented caves. The major attraction is five caves that contain ancient frescoes and Buddhist statues. It has various carvings of Bodhi Sattva and Buddha statue from the rock many of which are directly from the rock.
The decoration on the ceiling is mesmerizing and gives a strong insight of the creative skills that take you back as far as 1st BC. It has more than a thousand Buddha images painted on the wall including the stories of his ‘Bodhi Sattva’ period and stories of his ‘previous lives’ and some depicting his battle with temptations in the form of demons and cobras before reaching enlightenment.
The Sigiriya Rock Fortress, another UNESCO World Heritage Site, one of the most dramatic, inspiring and beautiful historical locations in the world. Worthy of being called the “8th wonder of the world”, known also as the “Fortress in the Sky” is 200m high.
The entrance has a stunningly designed famous Lions paw. At the top you will see the Frescos of the beautiful Sigiriya ladies. The rock fortress was built by the King Kassapa between 477-495 AD.
The history of Sigiriya is a fascinating one which revolves around feuding dynasties which made one of sons Kassapa of the ancient king Dhathusena to build an empire to protect himself.
As the ancient legends describes,
“Prince Kassapa murdered his father the king Dhathusena. His half-brother Moggallana later returned from exile in India supported by an army to fight with Kassapa. The legends also says that Moggalan’s army consist mostly of Indian soldiers were intimidated to find the lions rock in its full glory and withdrew many times refusing to fight. Finally Moggallana fought Kassapa and won the battle.”
Today it is one of the must see wonders of Sri Lanka and thousands visit to catch the sight of famous lions paws and the serene views top of the fortress. During the short time span where prince Kassapa has spent, he has shawn great love of painting. There are beautiful colorful frescoes on the wall. These frescoes are popular as ‘Sigiriya ladies’.
The excavators have explored and found out ruins of remarkable engineering skills used to build this fortress in to a fully functioned fortress with plenty of facilities.
Look out for the Sigirya Mirror wall. Based on the Sigiriya Graffiti; there is a lime plaster of the brick masonry wall polished so intensely that it had reflected the frescoes on the opposite rock wall. Today, fifteen centuries later, the shine on this wall can still be seen.
‘ The 8th Wonder of the world’ which is a tag that Sigiriya rock fortress quite rightly deserves was coined by Sir Arthur C Clarke the famous fictionist who lived in Sri Lanka since 1950.