Sri Lanka Day 4 - Dambulla and Minneriya National Park
On this beautiful fourth day I was joined by two friends. We started by visiting the Dambulla Cave Temple also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla - a World Heritage Site. It is the best-preserved complex of cave temple in Sri Lanka and estimated to be 2,000 years old. The monastery is still operational. As tourists we can visit 5 caves full of paintings and statues all related to Buddha and his life. The caves overlook the surroundings plains giving us stunning views.
Tip: When visiting temples you will have to remove your shoes and leave them at the entrance. If you wear sandals it is a good idea to bring socks to wear as the ground can get quite hot with the sun. Also make sure you wear appropriate clothing - you should cover you shoulders and knees.
On the way down from the cave temple we were greeted by many toque macaques waiting for tourists to drop some food. This monkey species is endemic to the island of Sri Lanka, but sadly is endangered due to habitat loss.
For lunch we headed to a special place, near the Minneriya National Park where many wild elephants roam freely. Local women cooked a delicious local meal for us. In this place small cabins are built high up in the trees to monitor elephants activity and avoid them going into the nearby fields.
Just after lunch it started pouring down with rain but we still headed for our Jeep Safari inside the National Park hoping to see elephants. We drove for a while under the rain without seeing anything. Our guide explained that the elephants try to move away from the rain, so the Jeep left the Park and we went to look for them on local roads. And he was right. As soon as we left the rain behind we started seeing elephants roaming around the tall grass. It was so nice seeing so many of them.
After this long day we returned to our hotel and chilled all night.