Monday, July 8, 2019

Dambulla Cave Temple

The Dambulla Cave Temple in central Sri Lanka consists of five caves under an overhanging rock decorated in murals, 153 Buddha statues, statues of bodhisattvas (Buddhas in training), Sri Lankan kings and Hindu gods and goddesses. In 1938 the cave entrances were enhanced by gabled entrances and arched colonnades. 
Here is the entrance to Cave 1. 
A view of the overhanging rock and arched colonnades. 
A pond and view through an arch.
A hallway in front of the caves.
A view of the valley and a nearby hill. 
Valagamba of Anuradhapura converted the caves into a temple in the first century BCE when he was exiled and sought refuge from Southern Indian invaders. It was added to over the centuries and it became a major religious center. 

The caves were restored and painted by the Kingdom of Kandy in the 18th century. 

The first cave is called the Cave of the Divine King. It has a 46 foot long statue of a reclining Buddha hewn out of rock with his favorite pupil, Ananda, at his feet, and Hindu god Vishnu at his head. 
Given the confine of the cave, it is difficult to get a full photo of the reclining Buddha. This view from the feet.
This view from near the head toward the feet.
The head of Buddha.
This must be Ananda and paintings of bodhisattvas.
The second cave, called the Cave of the Great Kings, is the largest and has 16 standing and 40 seated statues of Buddha. Tempera paintings on the cave ceiling from the 18th century depict scenes from Buddha's life. 
A dagoba or stupa in the cave.
Another reclining Buddha.

I love the color.
Nothing like color to lighten up a dark place.

The third cave, the Great New Monastery, has ceiling and wall paintings in the Kandy style during the reign of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha who ruled from 1747 to 1782. There is a statue of the king along with 50 Buddha statues. 
The ceiling of Cave 3 has over 1,500 paintings of a sitting Buddha on the ceiling. 

My favorite image in all of the caves.
Cave 4, the Cave of the Western Temple, was undergoing restoration. 

Cave 5 was not open to us. There were people inside in some sort of meeting. 

I am determined to learn more about Buddhism so that I can have a greater appreciation and understanding of the sacrifice and meditation that goes on in places like the Dambulla Cave Temple. 

1 comment:

  1. I really liked watching the restoration work. I'm sure some detail must get lost over the centuries, but it looked like they were doing a pretty good job.