Here now and now here or nowhere

The title of this blog comes from a play on words that "now here" is also the same letters as "nowhere" just with a space added in the middle. I am always trying to get better at being in the here and now, and I've always been a bit of a joker so that is why I chose this name.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

A trip to Dambulla

Having some (ok, a lot) of free time while here in Sri Lanka trying to set up a yoga program with a hotel, I decided to take a day to go see the Unesco Dambulla Temple caves. I'd seen pictures of the insides of the cave and it looks beautiful.  Just outside of town you also have Sigiriya. Sigiriya is famous for its 200m high red stone fortress and palace ruins which are surrounded by the remains of an extensive network of gardens, reservoirs and other structures.  I had read and heard that while Sigiriya is very impressive, it's also very tourist overrun and over-expensive at $30 a head.  While just behind it is another temple and high rock, Pidurangala. Pidurangala rock is almost as high as its famous neighbor and provides a pleasant view onto its sibling as well as the surrounding area. It also cost $2 and had virtually no people on it. Though you don't get to see the ruins atop of Sigirya, having traveled extensively, ruins are ruins and after a while your brain doesn't process them much.

After hiking up, doing a little bouldering work at points near the top, and chilling out on the top with a view, I decided to head back to town to catch the caves as I was only in town for one day.

The caves are amazing. I've been to caves, I've been to temples, I've been to temple caves. None held a candle to these ones.  I was completely in awe. The beauty and majesticness of it was truly magnificent (as I hope the pictures can somewhat show).  I had a few problems here, but so did a few others.  Turns out there are a few entrances in, but only one sells tickets. And if you come into that entrance, the ticket area is hidden. You then walk up a steep hill (small mountain) and get to the the caves where they ask for tickets. Why the ticket place isn't here makes no sense to me, but then again living in developing countries long enough I know to ask for sense is nonsensical. As you can guess, I didn't have a ticket. So after trying hard to negotiate up top (to no use) I walked back down, furious., found the ticket place and trudged back up. Funny thing was, the second time up wasn't so bad, maybe it was more of a hill in my mind or maybe I was just too upset at the ridiculousness of it all to realize I was even walking. At one point I, stupidly, thought, "I'm not going to go. F this, if they have no order or logic."  Luckily, I am not that ignorant, only moderately. So I made it back up, showed my ticket, and went in to see what so far may have been the most impressive thing I've seen here in Sri Lanka.

Little note: The picture with a small Ganesh in it also has a white thing next to the tree on it. This is the bone of an elephants skull. It's considered holy to the worshippers of Ganesh. I thought it was pretty neat.