Friday, May 3, 2013

#837 Dumballa Cave Temple, Sri Lanka

It's a nothing-in-it town on a highway near the amazing Sigiriya (#983), but its history is ancient and varied. The complex includes both the Rock Temple and Golden Temple, and visits require a hike up the hill, or at least, up several stairs. With supposedly the world's larges Dharmchakkra pose Buddha (at 30m), the best views of the countryside are actually from behind him!
Personally, I did find the complex quite distastefully commercialized, but I absolutely loved all the cheeky monkeys hanging around, ready to prey on your snack or lunch or camera and the moment's hesitation.
The complex is thought to date back to 1st C BC (King Valagambahu took refuge here when running from Anuradhapura), and because he received refuge, he had cave interior carved into the magnificent rock temples (once he regained throne, of course). Later kings left their own marks: King Nissanka Malla gilded the interior -- thus "Golden Rock" (Ran Giri) not to be confused with Myanmar's own Golden Rock (#931). The aspect that was most amazing was that the upper area had five separate caves, 150 buddha images, and many Buddhist paintings, most dating from the more recent 19th Century. Cave II (Maharaja Viharaya) is probably most impressive at 52m long, 23m wide, 7m high, Cave III (Maha Alut Viharaya) and Cave V (Devana Alut Viharaya), were both supposedly converted from a storerooms in the 18th century.

Source: Lonely Planet Sri Lanka, 9th Edition

No comments:

Post a Comment