Tripin 2017 - 2018 - page 69

One of our favorite places in the Triangle is Dambulla, situated on
a gigantic rock that towers more than 160m above the surrounding
land. Our children just loved to run up and down the rock. It’s like
another world. The massive rock is more than 1.5 kilometers around
its base, but easy to climb. The Dambulla caves were the refuge of the
exiled KingWalagamba (Vattagamini Abhaya) for 14 years. Finally in
the first century BC the king returned to the throne at Anuradhapura
and had the magnificent rock temple built. Dambulla showcases a
series of caves with Buddhist shrines, frescoes, and murals painted
in vivid colors. Dambulla has been designated a World Heritage
Site since 1991. The fabulous caves have a mixture of religious
and secular paintings and sculptures. The art in this rock temple is
truly amazing and well maintained. The site has being repaired and
repainted several times in the 11th, 12th and 18th centuries. This
was a magical place for our family because we were able to actually
go in and out of caves. It is a wonderland. There are various kinds of
Buddha sculptures inside such as several reclining Buddhas including
the 15-meter long sculpture of the dying Buddha in the first cave.
The most stunning of the caves is the second cave. It is the largest
and most impressive, containing over 150 statues, illustrating the
Mahayana influences on Buddhism during that time. The wonderful
frescoes on the walls and ceiling are from the 15th-18th centuries,
and depict scenes from the Buddha’s life and Sri Lanka’s history.
Artistic renditions of Hindu deities like Vishnu and Ganesh are also
included in the art. Plan to spend a couple of hours here, but keep an
eye on the monkeys, for they are very bold and will steal the peanuts
or lotus flower offerings right out of your hand.
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