I’m back, I’m back!
Now that I’ve finally restored all my blog entries, let me go on with my travel tales from my trip last January to Sri Lanka. Until now, I’m missing the place alot. Such serenity never escapes the soul.
Well, the Sigiriya Rock climb was the craziest thing I’ve ever done in my entire life ( and the most impulsive, I believe, ) and my knees were shaking, unable to go further as we climbed down, and walked back to our van. The adventure of the day was far from over, as we were about to “climb” up the Dambulla Cave Temple. I was praying really hard that the drive would take hours for my feet to be able to recuperate and rest before the next climb, and the drive bought me an hour ( or at most, a hour and a half ) to rest.
We arrived at the Dambulla Cave Temple Complex just in time for sunset. The day was almost over, and we thought that it was the perfect time to go up the temple complex, as it was the most romantic, and soulful time of the day.
The Dambulla Cave Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, being Sri Lanka’s largest, and most well-preserved cave temple complex. The temple was built on 1st century BC, but there have been burial sites here that hint on this place being inhabited as early as the prehistoric times. It is one of the holiest sites in Sri Lanka.
The climb was shorter than that of the Sigiriya Rock’s, but it was still tiring. Uphill climbing was really challenging, though we appreciated the flat climbing steps over here. Once we got to the top of the rock, the view simply took our breath away -
Before we went further, we were asked to remove our footwear, and deposit it at the counter , as the temple grounds were sacred and no footwear or hats were allowed.
As the cave temples were very much in front of us already, I was greeted by a really pleasant surprise. I was really regretful that we wouldn’t be able to go to Anuradrhapura to visit the sapling of the Bodhi tree that Gautama Buddha sat under when he gained enlightenment ( and that was the world’s oldest living tree on record ), but its child, or sapling, was just right in front of me. This was a few hundred years old.
The cave temples actually look like caves, under a huge rock. There were 5 temples that we visited one by one, with our very kind tour guide ( who was a monk ) giving us alot of information about the place.
The temple arrangement was from the oldest temple to the most modern one. The oldest one dates back to 1st century BC, and the most modern one, dating to the 1700s. I couldn’t quite enumerate which was which, but let show you what I have grasped during the tour :
By the latter part of the temple tour, I was able to see a statue of a king inside the temple as well, and some Hindu gods like Vishnu and Ganesh side by side with Buddha. It was explained to us that Hinduism and Buddhism go side by side, and are in harmony in Sri Lanka, instead of being in opposing sides.
Touring the insides of the cave temples was quite a sacred experience for me. The cave temples were really solemn. It might be such a quiet, and reflective place, but the cave temples, upon entering, makes you feel that it’s telling you a story loud and clear – Sri Lankans take their religion seriously for as long as history can record ( and definitely beyond that ), and it is instilled in their way of living on how much importance they put on spiritual matters. I definitely felt that “sacred vibe” during our visit here, and it somehow gave my spirit some encouragement to keep on searching for my place in the sun.
If there’s one place that made us think, reflect, and be more encourage towards the path of enlightenment, it would have to be the Dambulla Cave Temple. But then, there is another place that gave us that spiritual feeling too ( which is to be revealed on my next entry! ).
As we enjoyed the beautiful, breath-taking, and soul-filling sunset at the Dambulla Cave Temple, we quietly went down the rock, headed to our van, and went to our accommodations for the night, Serene Garden in Kandy.
Serene Garden in Kandy was really nice as it had a condo-tel feel, and it had wifi, to our glee ( finally! ) Our day ended meeting with Cristine who was a day late for our trip, having a hearty reunion inside Serene Garden’s dining area, eating a buffet dinner and being serenaded with old songs by Sri Lankan performers.
This is the life.