Breaking up is hard to do…a day trip to Dambulla. ancient city

Sigiriya site of an ancient city

The incessant rains had taken a toll on me and I decided to take a day trip out of Kandy heading to Sigiriya and Dambulla.  Sigiriya is in all the guidebooks as a must see place. It is a rock….a really big rock located north of Kandy and next to Dambulla.

The rock from a geological point of view is known as a magma plug from a long extinct volcano that has eroded away leaving a giant rock plateau rising 1,200 feet from the floor of the valley.  The top of the was built with temples and possibly a palace for King Kassapa (AD  477-495) who had murdered his father and moved his court here from Anuradhapura.

Surrounding the base of the stone are the remains of water gardens and temples. A museum explaining the site and offering insights into the history and culture is an excellent introduction. I did NOT make the 1 ½ hour climb up the rock. It is a hard climb and requires a good deal of stamina. Not to mention being slightly nuts.

Kandalama.. by Geoffrey Bawa

Kandalama.. by Geoffrey Bawa

After our visit to Sigiriya we traveled down to Dambulla for lunch at a resort designed by the architect Geoffrey Bawa. Kandalama is an award winning resort. The 152 room hotel with its infinity pool overlooking Kandalama Wewa (large lake) emerges from the forest like a lost city. Covered in vines the hotel blends into the natural environment. Lunch was delicious and the scenery was stunning. Due to extended rains the lake had expanded beyond its normal boundaries and offered a beautiful watery vista.

Kandalama.. by Geoffrey Bawa

Kandalama.. by Geoffrey Bawa

We left Kandalama to move down the road to visit the Royal Rock Temple in Dambulla. This is where the breakup occurred. Buddha and I are splitsville. He keeps hanging out in these out of the way places requiring long tedious and exhausting climbs to visit him. We had a good thing going in Thailand, Cambodia and Laos where he was a first floor kind of guy. However, everything started to go wrong in Nepal and Sri Lanka where one needs to carry an oxygen tank to make a temple call.

Royal Rock Temple, Dambulla

Royal Rock Temple, Dambulla

The cave temples are 525 feet above the valley. One has to climb steps and slopping rock face to reach his Dambulla abode. By the time I arrived I was ready for a heat stroke.

Royal Rock Temple, Dambulla

Inside the caves at Royal Rock Temple

OK, aside from the odious climb his digs here in the Royal Rock were all that and more. A series of five highly decorated caves filled with standing, reclining and seated Buddha’s… it was truly lovely! Once I could be assured that I was not having a heart attack I also enjoyed the view from the plateau.

Royal Cave Temple

Buddha in the Cave

Before one makes the trip up the stairs it is necessary to go through the grounds of the Golden Temple. This modern temple completed in 2000 using Japanese donations puts the capitol K in Kitsch. On top of a 30 foot cube covered in plastic lotus blossoms sits a 30 meter high gold Buddha.  As delightful as the cave temples are the Golden Temple tends to make one decidedly bilious.

The Golden Buddha, Dambulla

The Golden Buddha, Dambulla

So there you have it…I have made my last climb to visit Buddha…breaking up is so hard to do.

About Larry Bosco

In 2010 I had one of those “Is this all there is” moments and so in January 2011 I retired from Real Estate Appraising, sold off all my worldly goods and headed out as a solo traveler in search of a new place to live. Since then I’ve traveled around the world, made new friends and had many great adventures and some not so great. After staying almost a year in Cuenca, Ecuador I have headed back to South East Asia where I began the journey in 2011. Currently I am living in Chiang Mai, Thailand
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7 Responses to Breaking up is hard to do…a day trip to Dambulla.

  1. Maggie says:

    Dear Larry,

    I think I am tired of Mr. B just reading your blog thank so much for the letting us share your
    Experiences. M

  2. LindaRose says:

    I can understand your breakup with Buddha….I would’ve kicked him to the curb a long time ago….he makes himself unapproachable, one would say…the fotos are stupendous…keep on travelin…..

  3. dan coffey says:

    what, you did’t climb up the rock? If I would have been there, I would have skipped up it. Like I did at Macchu Picchu

  4. Sue Hardcorn says:

    Sorry things didn’t work out between you and Buddha, but thanks for the great pictures!

  5. Susan B says:

    Buddha’s loss – glorious pics but other gods have equality in beauty elsewhere!

  6. That Resort by Geoffrey Bawa is stunning! And the cave temple looked interesting.

  7. Cathy D says:

    Fantastic photos….all of them….too bad for Buddha.

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