A Travellerspoint blog

Sigiriya - Dambulla - Kandy - Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Drive to Kandy stopping enroute to visit the Dambulla cave temple.

rain 27 °C

Hotel - The Kandy House, Amunugama Waluwa, Gunnepana, Kandy - Room No Indian Admiral

We were very sad to leave our lovely accommodation at Sigiriya this morning and even sadder because we had to wake up at 5am, breakfast at 6 and on the bus by 7 - and it was raining. Sometimes I wonder where my brain is, because I packed my rainbird and it is in the bottom of my bag, where it stayed today and I needed it big time.

We are heading for Kandy today but this morning we had a 45 minute drive to the world heritage listed Dambulla Cave Temple. We were the only people visiting the five caves so early this morning and as a couple of them are quite small, it was worth the early rise to be the only people in the caves.

It was raining and not very pleasant and there lots and lots of steps to climb up and they were uneven and it was very slow going, especially in the rain as no one wanted to slip and since my fall at the bottom of Lion Rock, I am very careful.

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Finally we all arrived safely at the top. The Dambulla caves tunnel into a huge rock 160m high. They were used as a refuge by King Valagambahu who spent 14 years in them in the first century bc, escaping an invasion from India. After he regained his throne, he had this wonderful rock temple constructed as a mark of gratitude.

The first, known as the Cave of the Divine King, contains a 14m reclining Buddha, carved out of the rock.

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But the most impressive is the Cave of the Great Kings which is completely ringed by statues of Hindu Gods as well as the Buddha and there are 15-18 Century frescoes covering every inch of the cave ceiling. Just amazing.

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Next stop in the pouring rain was the Ranweli Spice Garden which was such a shame because we went on a guided tour of the garden and it was very uncomfortable in the rain. We then went under cover and the guide explained all of their products and the wonderful things that herbs can do to heal you.

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Then a lot of us lined up for quick massages of our "sore bits". I had my ankle massaged as a bruise has now appeared but the massuse was quite concerned about all the red on my feet, but it was just the red dye from my wet shoes! It looked like a hospital with everyone lined up being massaged.

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We bought some aloe vera wrinkle cream (!), some herb cream and some cough mixture for Phil.

Back in the bus for the hour and half trip to our lunch stop which is the Tamarind Gardens in Digana. It is pelting down and the GPS gave the wrong instructions to the driver and our huge bus ended up squeezing down a very narrow lane for about two and a half kilometres. There was no way we could turn around and the rain was getting heavier and heavier. Eventually we arrived at the bottom of the hill and Didiyer quickly phoned for tuk tuks to drive us up the hill. Sharon, Yvonne and I all squashed into the back of a tuk tuk and how it got up the hill, I'll never know. We even leant forward to help it. Some people walked up the hill and we all got drenched.

The ladies at the Tamarind Gardens wrapped us in towels and gave us hot tea to drink while we waited for our lunch. Meanwhile, my tablet had gone completely dead and I didn't know why, so there are no photos of all this mayhem because it just wouldn't work.

Our lunch was a traditional Sri Lankan style meal cooked by local ladies at a community supported farm. It was delicious. We had a chicken curry and a crayfish curry with lots of lovely side dishes. The chicken was a bit spicy but the rest was very tasty. Dessert was a fruit salad with cow curd and treacle. Yum, yum, yum.

The rain stopped and we all trouped down the hill back to the bus for the hour's drive to The Kandy House, our accommodation for two nights in Kandy.

It is superb and our group has taken over the whole house. All the rooms are named after butterflies and ours is called Indian Admiral. We have a huge four poster bed that is so high off the floor that we have a stool to get into bed. We have a lovely big bath and a separate lounge room that opens onto a very long verandah.

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Didiyer googled some advice about how to fix my tablet and he took it into his room and hooked it up to his computer, but it didn't work. Then, when he was giving it back to me, the boys who work here were in our room and they fiddled with it and it started to work. I was so happy. I don't know why it died, but I hope it doesn't happen again.

Dinner tonight was downstairs in the garden, under cover. Everyone is laughing and happy. We are making some wonderful memories together.

Here are a couple of stories that Dudley told us. Sri Lankans traditionally have very large families - 15 to 20 children so the government sent representatives to the villages to explain about the use of condoms. Nine months later the whole village was pregnant! How come? Well, when the government representative demonstrated how to use the condom, he put it on his finger and so, this is how the village men used them.

Life expectancy for Sri Lankan men is 65 and women 75. It is also the same for elephants.

Posted by gaddingabout 03:44 Archived in Sri Lanka

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