Saturday, February 13, 2016

Sri Lanka - Part 10 - Dambulla Caves

The caves at Dambulla are carved into a rock crevice. They were started in the second century BCE, and expanded, renovated, and embellished through the 18th century.

The caves are about 500 ft above the road. The walk up isn't too bad, but we took frequent stops to catch our breath.
A facade was added to the caves in the British era.
The reclining Buddha in Cave 2, the Maharaja Vihara.
Most of Cave 2 is lined with sitting Buddhas
More Buddhas in Cave 2.
Cave 2 has a stupa with eight Buddhas sitting around it. Two of them have a cobra head protecting them.
The ceilings are elaborately painted. The occasional "fold" in the ceiling reminds you that the artwork is painted on rock, not a flat plaster base, This detail is from Cave 3.
At first all I saw was an elephant bowing down to Buddha, but then the figure on top of the elephant's head was pointed out. That's Mara, one of Buddha's demon enemies in defeat.
From the same ceiling mural in Cave 2, demons in Mara's army are attacking the Buddha. One of them is holding a long gun (foremost figure on the left). Clearly this panel was painted after the arrival of Europeans.
The Bodhi Tree in the courtyard in front of the caves.
Oil lamps at the Bodhi Tree.

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