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Sigiriya – Cave Paintings, Ruins, and Wild Elephants – Oh My!

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Saffron and Silk

Sigiriya, a World Heritage Site, is part of Sri Lanka’s “cultural triangle.” The town itself is not much to speak of, but it makes a terrific home base from which to visit Dambulla Caves and Polonnaruwa.

Dambulla owes its importance on the tourist circuit to King Vattagamini, who was ousted from his kingdom in 103 BC and took up hiding in nearby caves overlooking the area. He stayed for 14 years before regaining his throne and, upon doing so, built several temples there in gratitude. Subsequent rulers followed suit, each trying to outdo the other. As a result the cave complex of 5 separate grottos holds hundreds of brightly colored Buddha statues and thousands more are painted on the ceiling, along with associated gods and goddesses.

Polonnaruwa:  I rented a tuk-tuk to visit Polonnaruwa, the ruins of a 12th century city that was one of the most influential in Sri…

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