DambullaJanuary 19 in Sri Lanka ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C
Up early again and on another bus, heading south out of Polonnaruwa towards the town of Dambulla. Very crowded again, though at least we were able to get a seat. Also slightly terrifying given the speeds that the drivers go at - it might not be all that fast, but in a big heavy vehicle packed with people it sure feels it!
Arrived in Dambulla around lunchtime and dropped off our luggage at the guest house. Our main reason for stopping here was to check out the nearby Golden Temple, which was only a few hundred metres from where we were staying. So off we went!
First up is a large modern Buddha statue, one of the world's largest, painted gold which sadly looks quite tacky. It's not actually associated with the World Heritage site though, which is a series of cave temples located up in the hills behind.
The climb was tiring but not super tough, though we made it harder for ourselves by taking the wrong entrance and having to backtrack a fair way to the ticket booth. Ticket prices here are really expensive - most of the attractions are $20-$30 USD for foreigners, though this one was a bit cheaper. Locals of course get in for a token amount. No cards accepted either, so we've been constantly visiting ATMs.
The caves themselves were quite nice, five in total and packed with wall paintings and statues of Buddha. Some of the paintings were hundreds of years old, though a lot of it had been repainted in the 19th century. Although the shrines have been used for millenia (probably since not long after Buddha himself), it was fairly unclear how old a lot of the decoration etc was. And we didn't hire a guide either; they don't really fill you with confidence when you hear them saying stuff that completely contradicts what you've just read!
All in all a fairly short visit, only about 90 minutes all up, so we headed back down the hill, grabbed some lunch and then relaxed for the afternoon. Had dinner at a nice local place down the road where we were the only customers!Read more