Dambulla with its Royal Rock Temple at Sri Lanka
In spite that yesterday we watched the sunrise from the top of the Rock of Sigiriya, we didn’t feel tired to go to Dambulla. Since our hotel is at Sigiriya, we went to the street to take the first coming bus. Getting off at the main bus station (last stop), we made the rest of the trip by walking taking the same direction as the bus since it didn't keep going on. We discovered a nice fruit market, the fervent activity of the big wholesale produce market then we started to spot the golden belt. After 30 minutes, we were in front of it and the big golden Buddha welcoming us.
Standing in front of us, there is a long series of stairs going up, hopefully, there are less than in Mihintale with
its Mahaseya. In fact, there are 2, the right one goes to the Buddha and the left one, to the caves. Taking a good breath and the entrance is free, we started to climb, step by step, we met some monkeys, souvenir sellers, lotus sellers and mango sellers before to reach the summit.
Just before to enter to the cave area, we had to remove our shoes, hopefully, the stones were not so hot yet. We arrived around 10h30am when monks were praying so all caves were closed and everyone was waiting in the shadow of the corridor enjoying the cool breeze of the rock.
15 minutes later, we entered to the first cave, a big Buddha is lying down watching the entrance to know who will come to pay him tribute. The second cave is full of monks and Buddha statues, the whole wall inside is decorated with beautiful frescoes dating from old ages and well preserved. Many small long wood benches are placed as a protection to create a security space between us and them.
The third cave is smaller than the second one, the fourth and the fifth cave are smaller than the third one, all look quite similar, it reminds me the ones that we visited in China, Datong with its Yungang Grottoes. I like particularly the second one with its painted walls, the natural light shining some sections of the cave favoring the whole space.
After that, we took a little time to enjoy the view from the top before to go down. Break time, just next to the parking, there is a place making fruit juices so we decided to go there savouring a nice cold drink. So hot that we didn't want to walk under the sun so we took a tuk-tuk for 100 rupees (0,65 euros) to bring us to the Dambulla's downtown, exactly to the restaurant Mango Mango (641 anuradhapura road) because they make some no spicy foods (a "local" burger for 80 rupees - 0,50 euros) and they have the air conditioning and wifi.
The city offers nothing interesting except for a wooden shop called Lakdiva Timber Center (651 anuradhapura road - exiting the Mango Mango restaurant, go right, it is just 1 minute walk). We bought a nicely carved wooden panel, the price is 1000 rupees for 1 "local" meter (35 cm in European standard).
Time to go back to our hotel in Sigiriya by bus, the good point is that there are many buses doing Dambulla-Sigiriya so we arrived not too late, enough time to plan our trip to Polonnaruwa with its Gal-vihara.