Sunday, September 15, 2019

Dambulla cave temple in Sri Lanka is a must visit

Dambulla, the Golden temple
Dambulla cave temple complex (the Golden Temple) in Sri Lanka is a World Heritage Site dating back to the  first century BCE. Dambulla has one of the best preserved cave temples in Sri Lanka. The five main caves have exquisite paintings and beautiful statues.

Dambulla is located around 160 km from Colombo, and is well connected by road. It took us around 5 hours to reach Dambulla by road. After resting a bit we set off to see the cave temple complex. Our plan was to do Dambulla caves first, and Sigiriya first thing in the morning the next day.

We started for the caves around 5 pm which was quite late.The temple complex is open until 7 pm, but it is best to do the caves during daylight hours since climbing down may get a bit difficult with less or no light.

This place is a must visit if you like ancient structures, paintings, and sculptures. There is a bit of climb involved...around 360+ steps to reach the caves, but believe me you would be happy to have taken those steps:). It is totally worth it. Shoes are not allowed inside the complex (the climb to the temple complex is done barefoot).

I am posting pictures below, my camera does not do justice to Dambulla (I think my camera was as awestruck as I was!)  However, you can still make out the beautiful paintings on the walls and ceilings of the caves, so well-preserved, and so so awesome!

Golden pagoda
View on the way up

Entrance to the 5 caves
One of the beautiful entrances

The painting on the ceiling is well-preserved

The caves are full of such beautiful intricate paintings

The black and red squares are not paper or cloth, that is a painting!

Beautiful sculptures
I love this one

These are just so pretty!

The work on Buddha's pillow is so intricate
The painted ceiling looks like a beautifully printed cloth!

 There was some restoration work going on...the ceiling has beautiful paintings but could
not capture those 

Bodhi tree

You may like the following post on Sigiriya which you can visit while you are in Dambulla. I would recommend you do because that is another spectacular place:

The Spectacular Sigiriya rock fortress in Sri Lanka will leave you breathless:)

Saturday, August 31, 2019

The Spectacular Sigiriya rock fortress in Sri Lanka will leave you breathless:)

Sri Lanka was a wonderful experience!
Even though we went on a short 5 day trip, we managed to see quite a bit of Sri Lanka and loved every bit of it.

Loved the beautiful island and the warm and friendly people. The trip was l planned and organized by our Sri Lankan classmate, who had planned every bit of our travel, and courtesy him we got a taste of the local culture and cuisine! What an experience!

This was what we planned to cover in the 5 days after landing at Colombo:

1. Dambulla (caves and Sigiriya rock)
2. Anuradhapura
3. Kandy
4. Nuwara Eliya
5. Back to Colombo

We landed in Colombo a little after midnight. The next day we started for Dambulla, it took us around 5 hours to reach Dambulla by road (inclusive of breaks). Our plan was to do Sigriya rock so we stayed at Dambulla which is the closest place to stay (around 20 km) if you are visiting Sigiriya.

Sigiriya (Lion Rock) is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It used to be a monastery dating back to 1-2 century BC. King Kassapa built the Sigiriya fortress with the palace, gardens, and other buildings.

It is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central ProvinceSri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (from Wikipedia)

The site opens at 7 am. We bought the tickets at the counter in Sigiriya but I think there is an option to buy it online as well.

I knew that we would have to do a fair bit of trekking in the first couple of days with the Dambulla caves and Sigiriya in our agenda...while Dambulla caves are probably still doable but could be difficult for anyone with knee problems (I will post Dambulla caves after this post), Sigiriya is tough if you are not used to climbing and trekking, it is quite a bit of a of 2400 steps for the the entire trek.  The good news is that it is worth every bit of the climb! And if you are physically fit, and enjoy trekking, it will be an awesome experience anyway!

It took us around 2.5 hours to complete the entire trek.Since we started the trek very early, the place was not crowded. However on our way back we saw that it was beginning to get really crowded. The best way to see Sigiriya is to start as early as you can (7 am) and come down by 10 am, that way you avoid the crowd and the heat.

Overall it was an awesome experience! The view from the top is amazing. The gardens of Sigiriya are supposed to be the oldest landscaped gardens in the world! If you are in Sri Lanka, and you are good with trekking, Sigiriya must be in your itinerary.

Lion  paws 

On the way up to Sigiriya rock top...

At the top of Sigiriya rock fortress....the view is beautiful and worth it!

Monkeying around at the top:)

Sigiriya gardens....and an Iguana

Sunday, June 16, 2019

The Great Rift Valley, Kenya

The Great rift Valley, Kenya
I am ending my Kenya trip diary with this one last post on the Great Rift Valley.

*from Wikipedia

(Today the term is most often used to refer to the valley of the East African Rift, the divergent plate boundary which extends from the Afar Triple Junction southward across eastern Africa, and is in the process of splitting the African Plate into two new separate plates. Geologists generally refer to these incipient plates as the Nubian Plate and the Somali Plate)

We did the Great rift valley on our way from Naivasha to Amboseli. This place is quite close to Nairobi.

I loved Kenya. If you love nature, especially wildlife,  Kenya is a must do. It leaves a lasting impression, and one yearns to go back again and again:)

The place from where we got these shots
You may like the following posts on Kenya: