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    Posted May 12, 2013 by
    Sri Lanka
    This iReport is part of an assignment:
    Travel photo of the day

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    Dambulla Temple Complex, Sri Lanka


    CNN PRODUCER NOTE     JuleeK photographed these captivating images of the Dambulla Temple Complex in Dambulla, Sri Lanka. The Dambulla Temple Complex is one of Sri Lanka's heritage landmarks as the temples celebrate Buddha and former Sri Lankan kings.

    'My favorite part of the visit was buying a small bunch of purple hyacinth blossoms and white lotus blossoms, leaving a few on several altars and saying a prayer,' she says. ' I’m not Buddhist but in the moment, it felt right to do.'

    This photo was featured as CNN's Travel Photo of the Day on September 26, 2013.
    - Jamescia, CNN iReport producer

    Dambulla is the largest and most well preserved cave temple complex and ancient heritage landmark in Sri Lanka.


    The temple complex dates back to the 1st century BC. What makes it unique is that it has five caves that were built at the base of a 150 meter high rock during the Anuradhapura (1st century BC to 993 AD) and Polonnaruwa periods (1073 to 1250).


    Inside the caves are murals and statues are 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and statues of Hindu gods and goddesses, including Vishnu and Ganesh. The murals cover an area of 2,100 square meter and depict important Buddhist and Hindu images.

    The cave temples are still functioning today. On any given day, you’ll see local residents coming here for their daily prayers.


    In addition to the ancient cave temples is a more modern addition – the Golden Temple. Built in 2000 with a Japanese grant, the temple features a East-Asian styled, 30 meter tall golden Buddha statue. It is said to be the tallest Buddha statue in the “Dharmachakra Mudra” or “Wheel of Dharma pose”, representing how the Buddha sat when he gave his first sermon after enlightenment.

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