India, 
Sri Lanka,
 Nepal & Bhutan / Dambulla cave painting
Sri Lanka
Dambulla cave painting
India, 
Sri Lanka,
 Nepal & Bhutan / Golden Temple Cave Complex, Dambulla
Sri Lanka
Golden Temple Cave Complex, Dambulla

Sigiriya, Anuradhapura and Dambulla

Thought to be one of the oldest tourist attractions in the world, and declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1982, Sigiriya offers its visitors nothing less than a breathtaking experience. Standing more than 200m tall over the surrounding plains, the rock is said to be a solidified magma plug, from a long eroded and extinct volcano.

On its summit are the remains of a palace, built (by King Kasyapa) in the 5th century AD. Hidden in a cave along the citadel are some of the most magnificent ancient frescoes in South Asia. Seen today are, what's said to be left of the 500 paintings of maidens that once covered a large area of the face of the rock. The Mirror wall that leads up to the Lion staircase wall built of Lime plaster and said to have been so well polished that it reflected the paintings of the opposite rock wall. Today, 15 centuries later the shine on this wall can still be seen. A total of nearly 1500 writings on the wall, include verses that date back as far as the 8th century, most of which have now been deciphered.

Anuradhapura was the capital of Sri Lanka (Ceylan) from the 4th Century BC to the 11th Century AD. Now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the city could be labeled as the islands most celebrated. When it seemed as if the rest of the world were far behind, this magnificent city during its day was well ahead of its time, most notably in its use of Hydraulic Technology.

Though most of this ancient city is in ruins today, its most awe-inspiring structures still stand tall. Second only to the pyramids in Giza, the dagobas, some of them intact and some restored, are amazing monuments to the art of masonry prevalent at that time. The Jetavana dagoba is the most spectacular of them all.

The sacred Sri Maha Bodhi Tree in Anuradhapura, is a sapling of the sacred Bo tree in India (in whose shelter prince Siddhartha attained enlightenment and became Buddha). It is the oldest (2,250 years) recorded tree in the world.

The Anuradhapura Archeological Museum, the Abhayagiri and the Jetavanarama Museums, offer an in-depth insight and a greater understanding of this dynamic civilisation.

Another UNESCO world Heritage site, Dambulla Cave Monastery, is an extraordinary and unique complex. Tthe cave-temple, Buddhist mural paintings in five caves and 157 statues of various sizes is an outstanding example or religious art in Sri Lanka.

 

Sigiriya, Anuradhapura and Dambulla
Sigiriya, Anuradhapura and Dambulla