SEE A RE­CLIN­ING BUD­DHA

Wanderlust Travel Magazine (UK) - - 360˚ Need To Know -

You know… Wat Pho, Bangkok, Thai­land

Of the 32 mil­lion tourists that blan­ket Thai­land each year, most pass through the cap­i­tal. This is a city of hus­tle and flow, and even at its most sa­cred sites, such as the city’s Wat Pho tem­ple – home to its famed 46m-long re­clin­ing Bud­dha – the only one tak­ing it easy is 24-carat gold and ly­ing on a plinth.

But what about… Dam­bulla Cave Tem­ple, Sri Lanka

For a more se­date in­tro­duc­tion to Bud­dhism’s won­ders, Sri Lanka’s Dam­bulla Cave Tem­ple is truly unique. Carved into a gran­ite rock face, it ac­tu­ally stretches five grot­toes and was once thought to have been the hide­out of de­posed king. So it goes: when he took his throne back in 85 BC, he gave the caves to the monks that had shel­tered him, who then turned them into a se­ries of tem­ples.

It’s a steep walk to get there (rid­dled with cu­ri­ous macaques) and not best done in the heat of mid­day, es­pe­cially as you have to re­move your shoes at the top and hot-foot it over the sunny parts. But inside, its five cool caves are daubed in a kalei­do­scope of in­tri­cate mu­rals, with per­haps the cen­tre­piece of its 157 stat­ues be­ing the 14m-long re­clin­ing Bud­dha, hewn from the cave wall it­self.

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