First sight of the giant golden Buddha statue at Dambulla
Just to get a sense of the scale...see the huge beehives on the Buddhas elbows...they look so small in comparison
The amazing cave temples of Dambulla - some king used these (then unknown and hidden) caves as a hideaway when his opponents were trying to hunt him down - after he managed to claim the crown again, had the caves converted to temples as a mark of gratitude.
The vibrant colours and modern touch up makes you see the cave the way it was meant to be seen by the creators
The king put up a statue of himself as well
As I mentioned in the book, there are two types of lying down Buddhas - the one who is merely chilling for a bit, and the one where the Buddha is cold and dead. One of the ways to tell the difference is the placement of the toes...if the toes are aligned together like in this photo - then the Buddha is fine, he is just catching 40 winks.
But if the toes are not aligned - like in this pic - then the statue is of the 'Nirvana Buddha' - meaning a depiction of his dead body.
Sigiriya is a mountain fortress dominating the flat surrounding landscape
See the line of tourists climbing up the fort to get a sense of the scale - its pretty big
A royal personage in the royal ruins
Schoolchildren come for an outing to Sigirya
An orange-clad monk surveys the countryside
Polonnaruwa was an ancient capital of Sri Lanka, the ruins of which are maintained in a natural park
The place is laid out like a green park...no tar roads, no vehicles, only cycles allowed
Interesting to see the flowers arranged in a stupa shape
A lot of statues of the Buddha catching 40 winks
Amazing rock carvings from a single rock at the Gala vihara
Anuradhapura was another ancient capital of Sri Lanka, and is full of religious structures and museums - and the Bodhi tree, a cutting of the original tree under which the Buddha achieved enlightenment
Some stupas have been repaired and painted - and this gives you a sense of how the makers intended the structure to be seen.
The stupas are huge structures - see the people in the front of the frame to get a sense of the size of the stupa
It was so hot and you had to walk barefoot on that heated ground - a good way to get everyone to dance!
Finally we tired of seeing man-made temples, and saw god-made wonders instead. What beautiful trees and birds!