Thursday, January 5, 2012

Sri Lanka - Ancient cities of Dambulla and Sigiriya

At last, I made it to Sri Lanka. The vacation was filling with many places to explore and lot of learning as usual. But what really made this one different was the different kind of experience I got with each activity . The personal touch that came with everything - be it food, places or people.

Apart from covering places I so wanted to explore; I did lot of things off track. Explored Dambulla, Sigiriya, Anuradhapura, Pollonuruwa, Kandy, Nuwara Eliya, Hikkaduwa, Galle and Colombo :) Thats pretty much whole of Lanka. Didnt go to North or East as I was still not sure if it was safe.

Met few interesting people who shared their stories, watched Kandyan folk dance, visited a Turtle conservation hatchery, got special access to the top of a 18th century Light House at the southern most tip of Lanka. Explored an inaccessible cave on top of a mountain just to follow the tale of Ramayana; met a couple of Indian backpackers, drifted and met them again to have a nice beach party on 31st, searched and found long lost relatives of my husband....A friend introduced us to his friend who was with us throughout the trip; took good care of us and took us to unusual places than we would have gone otherwise. Oh! I learnt some Sinhalese as well :) Managed to click 1600+ snaps; have filtered them to showcase few important ones. T

I was always fascinated by history and culture; I wanted to explore the ancient cities in Sri Lanka - the cultural triangle area of Dambulla-Sigiriya-Anuradhapura-Polonnuruwa. Great stories, fantastic ruins, awesome culture.......magnificent works of art! 

I will let the pictures do the talking

Dambulla cave temple also called Golden temple is a World Heritage site. 5 cave temples hang from a rock 150 m high. These caves have statues and paintings related to Lord Buddha and his life. Seen here is the entrance to the temple complex

The cave temples date back to 1st century BC. 

There are about 153 Buddha statues in different positions in these caves. 

The paintings are detailed and well preserved. 

A Buddha in sleeping position. Sleeping position is symbolically represented by toes aligned, stomach full and palm under his head. 

Inside one of the cave. 

Close up of the paintings on ceiling of one of the caves. 

A Dagoba - a stupa which has relics inside it. 

A Buddha in Passing state - Nirvana. The toes are not aligned, his right palm beside his head. 

Famous Sri Lankan masks sold in a street shop outside the temple. 

Buddha statues amongst pink marbles, quartz and other stones. 

A shop selling antiques; many of them as old as 300-400 years. I was told that these items were got from villages as they didnt want them anymore. These pieces would be grabbed here in India!

Entrance to the temple.

Sigiriya is an ancient rock fortress and palace of King Kasyapa. It is surrounded by remains of extensive gardens, reservoirs. 

Water gardens - symmetric pools and tanks. 

A steep and uphill climb to the summit. 

The famous frescos depicting beautiful females; Mangolian, Egyptian... 

No one knows the identity of these ladies. 

The most famous one!

The Lion gate and final climbing stretch. The body and face of the lion is no more. 

The gardens as seen from the summit. 

The summit - remains of the Palace.


  1. What a trip!
    I got totally blown away after reading the third paragraph.

    Full of excitement and energy!
    1. special access to 18th century lighthouse! whoa must have been an awesome experience. how was the view from the light house? any pics of that?

    2. explored and inaccessible cave? oh my goodness!

    3. beach party with stangers? sounds cool!

    4. searched and (most importantly) found long lost relatives of your husband! cherry on a cake, i say!

    5. friend to take care of you guys? reminds me of william.

    overall, superb journal and superb photos!

  2. A lovely write up on your travel to Sri Lanka! It was a trip which has been recounted so well that one feels like having been on this trip with you:)

  3. I so enjoyed your pictures and the post B .I have been revisiting your pics and i so love them.Thanks for sharing.

  4. Wow, how did you manage to cover so much of Sri Lanka? It must be amazing doing things not part of a set itinerary. I loved the pictures, those of the Buddha reminded me of Ajanta and Ellora caves here. And, you had someone to take you around. That is the best way to visit any place. What about the beaches? Did you explore them too?

  5. And long at last the threat from you about Lanka is real!

    The pictures speak much about the ancient heritage that islet has. However when you observe close , it is gruesomely ironical that lands such as this and Palestine ( the whole area about the Jordan river, including the present Semitic State, Jordan, etc), are places, blood has been shed the most, tears of agony and misery, pain and torture, hate and apathy have been enacted. And these were the lands that saw long ago two men of peace, love and compassion go about and preach wisdom!

    Though the journey to SriLanka was my first trip outside India, your pictures and the fact that you went gaga in that land makes me envious and long to go back and explore the land, see much that I did not see .

  6. wow it sure looks beautiful.. thanks for sharing the pics.


  7. At last your visit to Sri Lanka happens and what a memorable trip you have had!! So much you have explored and absorbed and meeting relatives too!! Super cool!
    1600+ pics... awesome!

  8. Beautiful...So Sri Lanka Dekhne mila:)

  9. A set of beautiful pictures.
    It has been on our mind for years,somehow,which falls through.

  10. Nice pictures of your Sri Lanka trip. All are very lovely. You made us a feeling that we are also with you during your trip.

    We have the similar photos of the beautiful females in our Ajanta Caves also in India. I have a feeling of some resemblance of these pictures of Ajanta paintings.

  11. Awesome snaps. I have seen two sets. When are you uploading the remaining? Second pic is by far the best one.

  12. As always, great pics and write-up that gives a 'with-you' feel. Great going, B!

  13. Gautam,

    Lot of off the track things Gautam. The trip was thus so eventful :)

    The light house trip was at night. So i have no pics of outside view but lot of pics of inside view of Light house :)

    Cave one was awesome :)

    Yeah someone just like William :)


    Thank you; just the beginning :)


    Thanks kavita, watch out for more :)


    Yes, it was really amazing Rachna. Thank you; I forgot to mention; there are traces of similarities of Ajantha and Ellora :)

    Yes, beaches also; got tanned and sun burnt :)


    :) Haha. I agree with you; in fact I had similar thoughts while hearing to the teachings of Buddha they are proud about. Irony :)

    You should go back if you had been long ago :)




    Ma'am yea :)

    Chowla sir,

    So its not only me who feels Sri Lanka falls through. You should go :)

    Naidu sir,

    Yes sir; I forgot to mention. There are traces of similarities in those paintings with Ajantha cave paintings.


    Soon :)


    Thanks Balan. Just the start :)

  14. Awsome pics, loved the caves one :)

  15. Neha,

    Thank you. It was a good place.


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