Photo of the Day

Dambulla Cave Temple
Ancient Cities, Sri Lanka

{ 220 mm } – { f/5.6 } – { 1/320s exposure } – { ISO 400 }

An ancient beggar at Dambulla: one of Sri Lanka's Ancient Cities
An ancient beggar at Dambulla: one of Sri Lanka's Ancient Cities

What is the Dambulla Cave Temple

In prosperous times, the steep stairs leading to the holy rock temple in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, are full of tourists and locals. Surrounding them is a swarm of tour guides, souvenir sellers, refreshment vendors, and beggars.

By the time Carrie and I arrived at the tail end of a civil war, the crowds had dried up and the football field-sized parking lot was empty. This mean that when our white van pulled in with a private driver, all eyes were glued on us.

Try as I might to avoid being sucked in, I inevitably found myself chatting with several of these vendors and leaving a trail of Rupees in their hands. We did, however, avoid hiring a tour guide… for once.


Dambula Giant Buddha, Ancient Cities, Sri Lanka
The Golden Buddha of Dambula towers above the countryside

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What I Thought Then

In 2009, shortly after visiting Dambulla, Sri Lanka, I wrote the following:

After getting past the largest golden Buddha I have ever seen [see the above photo] towering above the entrance, we climbed up a bunch of stairs to see more reclining and sleeping Buddhas carved out of a rock wall. There were five rooms filled with Buddhas as well as paintings and murals on the walls. Amazing!

To read the whole story of my visit, check out:

Burning our Feet at the Ancient Cities of Sri Lanka 

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the Dambulla beggar photo is a part of my
Interesting People of Backpacking the World photographic series

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