This will be the last post from my Srilanka travel series. In this post lets explore the famous world heritage site Dambulla cave temple and on the way from colombo to Dambulla,let's visit Pinnawala elephant orphanage as well.
Plan your visit to Pinnawala such that you don't miss elephant bathing time that's the main attraction here. Entry fee is quite high for overseas visitors and there is little concession if you are from SAARC countries.
Everyday the elephants are taken to bath to a river on left hand side of the road at 10-12 & 2-4 and taken back to the orphanage which is on the right hand side of the road. Its quite a sight to watch the elephant parade crossing the road.
The elephants are allowed to play as they wish for a while. We can see cute baby elephants playing and fighting with each other and elephants give themselves a dust bath by playing in river sand. Then a Mahout comes and directs all the elephants for proper bath.
After assembling the elephants,Mahout washes them with a giant water hose setup in the river. He keeps rotating the hose at 180 degrees till all the elephants are washed.
There are no proper security to monitor, so just be careful if you go near the elephants for photography. I was suddenly chased by this little fellow from behind
Basically they have stopped a running river with logs to control the river flow and to manage the elephants during bathing.It was hard to see big elephants with chain in their feet. Its not that elephant cant break the chain but they can't come out of their chained mindset which was sown in to their mind during babyhood.
After bath,elephants are paraded back to the orphanage. We can go around the park and see elephants of various ages. Like elephant bathing another interest here is to see milk feeding of baby elephants. Be it bathing or feeding everything is about milking money from tourists. Mahouts allow you to feed milk in big bottles if you pay them and allow you to feed some elephant food and touch elephants during bath time as well. Management needs to take care about this. You can go for private elephant ride as well in Pinnawala.
Next head towards Dambulla. Dambulla is the largest cave temple complex in Srilanka and a well maintained world heritage site. We can see a gigantic golden Buddha in entrance.
There are lot of unexplored caves in this region and we can visit only five caves in top. Rocks are well carved and we need to go for a short hike to reach the top cave temple entrance.
They have setup a corridor under rock to enter those five caves one by one. We can find some ancient inscriptions. Needless to say this is an important holy shrine for Buddhists and draws pilgrimages from all over the world.
Before climbing the mountain, check in entrance regarding the pooja timings. Doors of caves are shut during pooja and only monks are allowed inside and you can't see anything then.
Follow along with the queue and visit the caves one by one . We can find lot of sculptures,inscriptions and paintings here. The place has great historical and archaeological significance ,so make sure that you don't touch or damage anything. As a thumb rule never pose your back to a Buddha statue. We can find similar frescoes paintings in Sigirya rock fortress as well.
so that's it.. we have explored Pinnawala and Dambula. Enjoy your overnight stay in Dambulla resorts and don't forget to visit sigirya early morning. Ideal time to trek is early morning.
This is the route i followed during the travel and you can cover a lot if you plan the itinerary well . Kindly check respective post links to know about the place in detail.
- Visit to Pinnawala and Dambulla
- Early morning trek to Sigiriya
- A day in Kandy
- A day in Nuwareliya
- Visit to Kataragama and Yala
- Hummanaya blow hole, Matara sea temple, Whale watching in Mirrisa
- Mirissa to Bentota - Galle, Mask factory, Moon stone mining in Ambalangoda
Hope this will be helpful for someone while planning :)
You can spend the last day at your leisure in Colombo. Literally this city is flooded with hotels since tourism is the main revenue of this island nation. You can just go for city tour and visit famous monuments, parliament,floating market,try local food,walk along the coast etc.. or just go for a shopping spree. :)
See you soon with another travel post.
Your feedback and comments are greatly appreciated.