Visit the unmissable cave temples of Dambulla, declared a UNESCO site in 1991. Five caves in all, boasting spectacular murals depicting scenes from Buddha's life. The Dambulla caves undoubtedly showcase Sri Lanka's finest Buddhist art throughout history. The orange hue emanating from the beautiful caves adds to the Spiritual energy that is alive throughout this important heritage site.
The caves have a long and interesting history dating back to 1st Century BC when the caves were the hiding place of one of Sri Lanka's earliest kings during the South Indian invasion. After reclaiming his throne, the king decided to show his gratitude to the caves that had become his refuge and constructed beautiful Temples within them. His successors have continued to preserve and enhance the caves, adding the arts and relics that remain there to this day to be admired by pilgrims and tourists alike. With an ancient water bowl that catches the water droplets from the main cave ceiling but never fills , and stunning views of the surrounding plains and beyond, the caves at Dambulla promise you an enchanting experience. Love them or hate them you will be accompanied by a crowd of monkeys as you make your ascent towards the caves!
The Sacred City of Anuradhapura is a reminder of an ancient civilisation . As Sri Lanka's first Capital City, there is archaeological evidence to show that it existed as a thriving city for well over 1000 years, dating back to the 4th Century BC. To this day the ruined ancient City remains one of the most sacred and magical places in Sri Lanka receiving regular pilgrims from all over Sri Lanka. Take your time to stroll through the vast and complicated ruins. Undoubtedly your eyes and mind will be tantalised by the sprawling network of dagobas, ancient pools and crumbling ruins of former temples.
The ruins at Polonnaruwa are another chance to gain some insight on the splendour of the former ancient Kingdoms of Sri Lanka. Perhaps most famous for the grandeur and serenity of the three Buddha statues at Gal Vihara. Carved from one huge rock face, they are an awe inspiring example of the craftsmanship of years gone by. At the heart of the ancient city are the remains of the Royal palace and Council Chamber. Nearby is the Vatadage or relic house, a beautifully decorated circular structure with an uncanny resemblance to Stonehenge! Among the other sites are the Gal Potha or Stone book, a nine meter long granite slab inscribed with the feats of a king. Polonnaruwa's ancient splendour cannot fail to inspire. Set amongst rippling woodland, the monkeys(again!), giant lizards and bird life in abundance you can't fail to be inspired!
Without a doubt, one of Sri Lanka's most inspiring attractions and certainly not to be missed! Climb the looming rock that rises 200m into the sky and marvel at the fact that you have just entered an ancient hedonistic pleasure palace! The base of the rock is surrounded by luscious gardens and water ponds, the top houses the ruins of a palace. Partway up the rock are the famous Sigiriya frescoes, featuring 21 bare-breasted beauties and still unfaded and eye catching despite being thousands of years old! Nothing blows your mind more however, than the spectacular views that stretch for miles when you reach the summit. The surrounding jungle and bright green plains are a stark reminder of how rare and beautiful unspoilt nature really is, an opportunity rarely observed in the fast paced development of today.
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