By. N. Mangi Devi
It was on the evening of February 3, 2017, my daughter Dineswori Ramesh and my granddaughter Anshuka Chanu along with me landed at Bandaranaike International Airport, Colombo, Capital of Shri Lanka and the Great Kingdom of Legendary King Ravana, the antagonist of Hindu epic Ramayana. I being a Hindu had a long desire to visit the Kingdom and the many pilgrim places where, King Ravana had held captive Lord Rama’s wife Sita and also other pilgrimage sites of Lord Buddha. We were received by the agency guide with whom we had made the tentative programme for 6 days visit to Shri Lanka . From the Airport, we drove directly to the most tourist attractive place ‘Sigiriya’ in Shri Lanka. We reached the site at 1 pm and stayed the night at the lodged No. 10 as booked earlier in the midst of the Jungle. The lodge we stayed was simple one. It was constructed with woods with no polishing and tin roofing but provided all facilities like toilet and bathroom. The lifestyle is simple with the natural settings. In the next morning, I along with my daughter and granddaughter had breakfast at “Queen Rest” restaurant near the entrance gate of dwelling houses. It is common for all residents. Sigiriya also called as Sinhagiri is an ancient rock fortress located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla in the Central Province, Sri Lanka. The name refers to a site of historical and archaeological significance that is dominated by a massive column of rock nearly 200 metres (660 ft) high. According to the ancient Sri Lankan chronicle the Culavamsa, this site was selected by King Kasyapa (477 – 495 CE) for his new capital. He built his palace on the top of this rock and decorated its sides with colourful frescoes. On a small plateau about halfway up the side of this rock he built a gateway in the form of an enormous lion. The name of this place is derived from this structure —Sîhâgiri, the Lion Rock. The capital and the royal palace was abandoned after the king’s death. It was used as a Buddhist monastery until the 14th century. Sigiriya today is a UNESCO listed World Heritage Site. It is one of the best preserved examples of ancient urban planning. The thin white ‘dosa’ made out of rice flour was decoratively displayed on the plastic plate and on the side of the big plate the red fruits added the beauty to the flower look like white dosas. The taste was also not bad with big cup of coffee. I really enjoyed it. After having breakfast we dropped to Sigiriya Rock palace, about half and hour drive from the place where we stayed. After paying visit to Sigirya, we went to Kandy – the Central district of Shri Lanka. The place is significant for Buddhist pilgrims as Dambulla Cave Temple stands there. Dambulla Cave Temple is famous across the globe as not only the doom is made of gold but the statue of Buddha is a coated with gold. This temple complex dates back to the first century BCE. It has five caves under a vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. In 1938 the architecture was embellished with arched colonnades and gabled entrances. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with intricate patterns of religious images following the contours of the rock. There are images of the Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various gods and goddesses. The Dambulla cave monastery is still functional and remains the bestpreserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka. This complex dates from the third and second centuries BC, when it was already established as one of the largest and most important monasteries. Valagamba of Anuradhapura is traditionally thought to have converted the caves into a temple in the first century BC. Exiled from Anuradhapura, he sought refuge here from South Indian usurpers for 15 years. After reclaiming his capital, the King built a temple in thankful worship. Many other kings added to it later and by the 11th century, the caves had become a major religious centre and still are. Nissanka Malla of Polonnaruwa gilded the caves and added about 70 Buddha statues in 1190. During the 18th century, the caves were restored and painted by the Kingdom of Kandy. Dambulla cave temple also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage Site (1991) in Sri Lanka, situated in the central part of the country. This site is situated 148 kilometres (92 mi) east of Colombo and 72 kilometres (45 mi) north of Kandy. A low of more than 20 status of Buddhist monks standing on the rock side one after another up to near the statue of Golden Buddha. It seems that they are going for service to the Lord as they are holding small basket of flower in their hands. Dambulla Temple areas is a big campus where many new buildings are coming up to meet the requirements of the need of the foreign visitors and hold International Buddists Seminars, Conferences from time to time as it is told that it becomes one of Buddists’ International Research Centre of the world. Many foreigners mainly from South East Asia like Japan, Tibet, China etc. are crowed there to pay this obedience to Lord Buddha. I feel it is worth to see the place and enjoy the life style of Sihanese as they are coming in large number.