No monkeys woke us this morning but that doesn’t mean we didn’t have a fabulous day. We left for Sigriya and Dambulla. We slept most of the way there. But when I did open my eyes, I saw all around me a rich red soil, or a vibrant green. When we finally rolled into Sigriya, there was a moat and then gardens with pools and fountains. We walked and walked through the terraces that once spoke of grandeur and then started our ascent. We walked up tiny steps worn with time and then we climbed a spiral staircase into a fresco gallery of Srilankan beauties that represented the pleasure palace that this was. We also passed the mirror wall, so named because it mirrored impressions of the travelers for centuries.
With every step we went higher, and with every new view our breathes were swept away, and yes the climb was strenuous. 1202 steps later we reached the top. We were on top of the world. We soared with hawks. We looked out at hills, mountains, plains and fields as far as the eye could see. You can’t help but feel magnificent and yet insignificant. The splendor moved me to tears. I was awe struck. We did not want to leave and as we made our decent our eyes kept wandering up and around looking at the world beneath us.
Exhausted we made our way to Dambulla, a 30- min drive away from Sigriya. We stopped half way for fresh juice at the side of the road. At Dambulla we climbed once again to the cave temples. Halfway up we came across a troupe of monkeys who were preening each other. And resting in the shade of the trees. We continues up and as is the custom of any temple when we arrived we took our shoes off. Being us we walked barefoot on the hot sun baked rock. To the last of the temples to work our way back. Only after reaching the end did we realize we could have saved the soles of our feet and walked in the shaded walkway near the entrances.
Inside the five caves wa saw a series of Buddha’s centuries old with cave walls all covered in frescos of Buddha. An interesting place I must say. The temple of the five caves was a cool quiet escape set on top of a hill, surrounded by more breath taking views. We enjoyed the climb, but we were templed out for the day.
On our way down we saw the same troupe of monkeys but this time we were treated to a beautiful sight of mother and child. The baby monkey was feeding at its mothers breast. I guess it doesn’t matter what species it is, when a babe suckles with its mother it always moves something in us.