Sunday, January 1, 2012

The world's largest...

We are back to the world of the "world's largest..." This time it's yet another Buddha statue. This one is the world's largest Buddha with hands in Dharma Chakra position - check out the picture to see what that means. Despite my is huge and towers over the area. This particular one was built with a Japanese grant and is over 30 meters tall. While in and of itself it is a gorgeous statues and dominates the landscape, it is actually just the tip of the Dambulla cave system. 

Cave Temple

The most outstanding artifacts in this particular complex are the extensive Cave Temple that can be found above and behind the Buddha in the hill. Climbing up more steps (yes, just like in Japan, all temples and shrines must be at the top of the hill, reached by 1000 steps.) we reached the entrance. 
Details from on cave ceiling
The caves themselves were really an overhanging rock, but many enterprising souls began painting tapestries onto the rock long, long ago - pictures of Buddha, elephants, people, primarily things that were significant in the life of Buddha. It is amazing how well preserved they are - both the integrity of the paintings and the colors - we did discover how they came up with their colors...check out the entry below about our wood carvers. It is considered to be one of the most extensive and best preserved cave systems in Asia. The five caves are filled with hundreds of statues of Buddha - seated, standing or reclining, created out of rock, marble, or wood. There are also stupas included as well as statues of different kings. 
Small stupa inside one of the caves
The Sri Lankan people embrace any number of religions, and mostly it's a harmonious melody. It's good because just down the road is the world's largest Hindu temple in Sri Lanka. There is also the famous Mt. Adam, where there is a preserved footprint in the rocks...if you're Buddhist it is Buddha's but if you happen to be Muslim, it is Mohammed's, Christian it's Christ's and Jewish is is David's. Take your choice...

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