Dambulla cave temple and Yapahuwa rock fortress

Today is our first day with our driver. We had set up a meeting point in the city center and met each other around noon. Our driver’s first mission was a simple one. He should just bring us to our accommodation in a small town called Naula.

Our transport for the next 7 days. Rented with driver from Mahaweli.lk in Kandy.

The beginning was a bit rush to get out of the busy trafic of Kandy, but once outside the city the road got calmer and we got to know our driver it little better. He suggested to stop in Matale for a quick visit of a hindu temple.

Sri Muthumariamman Temple in Matale, Sri lanka
Sri Muthumariamman Temple in Matale

It only took about ten minutes to walk around the temple and have a closer look at the numerous hindu statues on the temple. Next stop was a road side restaurant where we experienced our first rice and curry buffet.

Our driver needed a few phonecalls to find our remote guesthouse in Naula, but we arrived with plenty of time left to enjoy our wonderful chalet in the Sri Lankan jungle.

Chalet Honeyland in Naula, a wonderful stay in a very calm area.

For dinner we got again rice and curry. We tried our best to finish everything but it turned out to be an impossible job. When we were finished, there was still enough food left to feed an entire family.

The Golden Rock Temple of Dambulla

The dambulla cave temple is a must see temple in Sri Lanka. There are several entrances to the cave temple. There is a main entrance next to to tree storey Buddhist museum ‘Golden Temple’ recognizable from the main road by the giant gold plated Buddha statue.

The Golden Temple of Dambulla with the Buddhist museum. From here you can take a path with stairs to visit the Cave temples higher on the hill.

From the Golden Temple museum, you can buy tickets and walk up the stairs leading up the hill towards the actual UNESCO Golden Rock Temple with the five caves filled with statues and with painted walls.

An alternative, slightly easier approach to the Gold Rock Temple is to drive to the car park a little closer to the cave temples from where you can also buy your entrance tickets and take the stairs from there.

The shoe stall and the entrance building to the Dambula cave temple.
A white corridor is built along the entire length of the Dambulla cave temple. Sri Lanka.
A white corridor is built along the entire length of the Dambulla cave temple.
The cave temple in Dambulla is full with Buddha statues and has painted walls and ceiling. Sri Lanka.
The cave temple in Dambulla is full with Buddha statues and has painted walls and ceiling.

I’ve found an interesting article about the five caves and the golden temple of Dambulla. Go read it here if you need more information about the caves.

I’ve also made a small map using google my maps to show make it easier for you to plan your trip to the Golden Rock Temple.

 

If you are going there by tuk tuk or with a private driver, it could be nice to start from one of the two car parks and ask your driver to pick you up at the other car park after you hiked up one path to the caves and and down the other path.

Yapahuwa Rock Fortress

To visit the Yapahuwa rock fortress was a  bit of a weird choice in our travel itinerary. One our driver wasn’t so happy with but still he drove all the way from the Dambulla Rock Temple to the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress and then still to our accomodation near Wilpattu.

The map below shows why it’s a weird travel itinerary:

 

However, it was the only way to get The Yapahuwa Rock Fortress in our tight schedule. So we sit back and relaxed while our driver did all the effort to get us there.

The path from the car parking to the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress,
The steep squares in front of rock are the most impressive remains of the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress, Sri Lanka.
The steep squares in front of rock are the most impressive remains of the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress,
Steep stairs indeed.
Hiking on the Yapahuwa Rock Fortress,, Sri Lanka
Getting closer to the top of Yapahuwa Rock Fortress,
At the top of Yapahuwa Rock Fortress, there is a small pond and a small ancient Stupa. Sri Lanka.
At the top of Yapahuwa Rock Fortress, there is a small pond and a small ancient Stupa.

After all it was a pretty easy climb of about a half hour to reach the top of the Yapahuwa Rock. Just make sure to take something to protect you against the sun as now shade can be found in the second part of the climb.

We descended the same path back to the car parking where our driver was waiting for us. Another long drive ahead towards Wilpattu.

Our accomodation near Wilpattu National Park, Sri Lanka
Our accomodation near Wilpattu National Park

We had booked a guesthouse in the street leading to the entrance of Wilpattu national park because of our scheduled full day safari the next day. Those safaris require you to head into the park before around or even better before sunrise.

See our photos of the wildlife in Wilpattu National Park in our next post and find out if you can really see the famous leopard in Wilpattu.