The volume of cave paintings at Dunhuang, China versus Dambulla, Sri Lanka is without parallel, but the beauty, reverence and auspicious feng shui definitely are. Created by monks and artists around 100 BC, Dambulla Cave Temple contains hundreds of captivating murals and statues depicting Sri Lankan kings, Hindu Gods, the Buddha and his many acolytes. Carved into a colossal rock over 500 feet in height, the stunning visuals leave a transcendent impression on one’s heart and imagination.
On my 4th and 5th day, I travel to the ancient ruins of Polonnaruwa and Sigiriya, the eastern point of the Golden Triangle where 80’s synthpop group, Duran Duran, filmed their enchanting video, Save a Prayer.
Walking amidst stone temples, palaces and stepped pyramids, I notice a striking resemblance to the ancient ruins of Angkor Wat located 4,200 miles to the east. Both cultures must have come from a similar place of origin and/or shared a common architectural blueprint. Whichever the case, they are both immersed in mystery and magic.
Recently I traveled along what was once the Silk Road. Of course what remains doesn’t reflect the grandeur of ancient times, but with a little help from Google, a compass and friendly locals, I was able to locate a few gems (big ones!). Traveling from east to west, they are Maijishan, Mati Temple and the Mogao Grottoes.
Maijishan @ Tianshui, China
Mati Temple @ Zhangye, China
Mogao Grottoes @ Dunhuang, China