24 Oct Sri Lanka Travelogue – Day 2 – Kandy
We started creating memories for our 2nd day. Soon after checking out from our Hotel we left to Dambulla – Cave Temple
In fact, we planned to visit Dambulla – Cave Temple on our 1st day due to long drive and rains in the evening we postponed it to the next day first thing to visit before we leave to Kandy.
Dambulla – Cave Temple was hardly 30mins drive from our hotel. We reached there around 11 am. It’s too sunny and I suggest you carry a scarf or shawl to cover yourself. We brought tickets from the counter (1500LNR). It’s an Iconic place the climb up to the top is a bit sharp and can be quite tough on a hot day. Footwear’s must be kept outside and they gave us a token for LNR 25 per pair. The rock paths are very burning and not much shade is open. But it’s worth the view and relaxation you get. When you reach the topmost there are areas enclosed with trees so you will be under shade and cool.
Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage Site (1991) and the biggest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. Major attractions are spread over five caves, which contain statues and paintings which are related to Gautama Buddha and his life. The temples themselves are enthralling: very well-kept, amazingly elegant. However, you either need a very good/detailed guidebook or, preferably, a guide to the get the most out of them. The offered info in terms of signs or brochures delivered is least. My awareness of Buddhism was similarly missing, so I was very obliged to have a guide to influence who could explain things to us. Along with us 2 other tourists joined the same guide.
There are overall 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan rulers and 4 statues of gods and goddesses.
We followed the guide through the gateway and reached the 1st cave Deva Raja Viharaya. It is assumed that this cave is so called since the god Sakka (King of Deities) gave the ultimate touches to the major image of this cave. It is imprinted nearly in the round from the natural rock to which it still rests combined all along from behind, and is well-looked-after. The face is wooden in form, shapeless and grey. There are other 5 images of Buddha. The room is supposed to be that of Arhat Ananda, the close follower of Buddha, crying at the demise of his master. Opposite the face of the principal image, there is a statue of Visnu, (some researchers consider that this is of Upulvan, one of the four protector divinities of Sri Lanka), which is a well-executed. This room is closed for public for some specific research purposes.
We entered the next cave which is Maha Raja Viharaya which seems to be the major and the most notable one amongst the caves in this place. The cave is painted all over in vivid shades, and every part is in good form. This cave contains 53 images. The majority of the statues are of Buddha in different outlooks. At the entrance we can find a standing Buddha under a skillfully finished Makata Torana, both sculptured out of natural rock. We can also find a statue of King Vattagamani Abhaya in a simple dress with least ornaments.
We then moved to Maha Alut Viharaya, this was a storeroom used before the 18th century. The massive exterior of rock of this cave is also decorated of the lushest colors. These paintings represent various and several events of Buddhists, some signifying the life of the Enlightened One, and score of olden times of Buddhism. This cave contains fifty figures of the Buddha. One statue of Buddha in this cave in the resting position, its head on a cushion, relaxing on its right hand, is quite similar to that in Deva Raja Viharaya. This is about 30ft long and well balanced; the face is striking, and its appearance of countenance unusually peaceable.
Next one is Paschima Viharaya (Western Temple). This cave contains 10 figures of the Buddha. This is a very lovely figure of the Buddha placed in the dhyana mudra (attitude of meditation) hacked of the natural rock that forms the cave itself. The statue is in a fine state of protection and decorated in intense colors in the Kandyan period. The features of the statue are clearly noticeable. To a learner of Kandyan art and sculpture, this cave is a sea of raw material.
Cave No. 5 has no antique significance as it was finished in the second era of this period.
We moved on after capturing a few pics of the surrounding and left to explore Kandy.
Kandy was 70kms away from Dambulla. We had short Nap inside the car. The road was clear and not much traffic. But the Sun was burning like hell. On the way, we found an Indian restaurant and satisfied our stomach. Opposite to the restaurant, we found the Temple of Tooth Relic. Our guide insisted that they have a festival in evening 6.45 and that will be the best time to enter the Temple.
Our Hotel was close to the Kandy city and it was a beautiful scenic, the area is completely surrounded by a Lake (Kandy Lake). Most travelers include a visit to Kandy on their itinerary as this city was the last capital of the Sri Lankan kings and a World Heritage Site. We checked in to our hotel we went to the room to keep our items of baggage and refresh ourselves before leaving to Temple.
We left our hotel to explore the famous Buddhist temple Temple of Tooth Relic. As the name indicates, this temple preserves the sacred tooth of Lord Gautama Buddha. The whole composite is over 3 centuries old at least and has seen many Rulers rise and fall. It has seen bleeding wars and quiet reigns and is one of the most antique spaces still standing on the island. We collected the tickets for 500LNR each and entered the Holy temple. We must wear outfits that cover your legs and your shoulders and remove your shoes. We had purchased flowers from vendors besides the temple gates to honor the precious relic.
Temple of the Tooth has many parts like the Main Entrance, Moat, The Octagon, The Golden Canopy, The Temple of the Tooth Museum, The Palace, National Museum of Kandy, Kandy Lake, Queens Bath. As we had visited during the Pooja time we were able to see the Holy Tooth. In fact, we cannot see the tooth as it is kept in a Golden casket shaped like stupa which contains a sequence of six diagonal strongboxes of lessening size. The tooth instantly became an object of enormous worship and an icon of supremacy and power. It was the duty of the emperor to safeguard the tooth relic, and it was said that whoever held it, also held the supremacy of the kingdom. As an outcome, over the eras, there were numerous attempts to seize or abolish it, but those all failed, and the tooth stayed safe.
At the entrance, you can see a large imprinted arch with its elephants on both side and the ground is carved with a welcome mat which is known as moonstone.
We can see the temple salient with their red rooftops and silvery rock walls bossing Kandy Lake. The low walls have modest engraved openings that give a lattice effect and are used to line coconut oil lamps and nightlights in fiestas. The inner temple arrangements are decoratively carved and painted with bizarre woods, gloss, and ivory. Inside the temple complex, you step into the Pallemaluwa or the ground floor area. This space is thornily ornamented, and it is here where the day-to-day ceremonies are carried out. Inside is the Octagon, which was built by the last Ruler of Kandy as the apartment where he could speak to his citizens. Once it’s a part of the royal fort, now this building has been combined into the temple and is now home to prehistoric texts. I felt a bit odd to be a tourist with a camera, together with all these native folks who were there for a divine purpose, but we were greeted similarly and were permitted to take photos. But, strictly no posing with the statues.
Inside one of the galleries, there is a sequence of useful storyboards explaining the tale of the sacred tooth.
The temple of the tooth is a part of Lankan tradition and a MUST SEE place by all the tourists who visit the country.
After the pooja got over, we left the holy sands and walked through the lakeside and went back to our Hotel.
We released our body ache by having a chilled beer and a short bath in the Pool.
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