Golden Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage Site located in Sri Lanka (near Colombo). It is the largest and most well-kept cave temple in Sri Lanka. It is surrounded with towers and is spread over 5 caves which hold various statues and paintings of Lord Budha. Also, some statues of Lord Vishnu and Ganesha have been found. It is believed that pre-historic Sri Lankans have lived in these caves before the advent Buddhism. Proof: A few skeletons have been found which about 2700 years old.
- A total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan Kings, 4 Statues of God.
- The murals cover an area of 2,100 square meters.
- Depictions include the first sermon of Buddha.
This cave temple has been a sacred pilgrimage for travelers for the past 22 years. The excavated shrine-caves, their highlighted surfaces and statuary are very unique in terms of the extensive preservation it has gone under.
The cave-temple complex is built on a diminishing remnant of importance in the study of the island’s geological history. The site also includes evidence of human occupation going back to the prehistoric period.
Today, to reach Dambulla’s rock temples, the pilgrims and tourists have to climb barefoot up the sloping ground and several cases of stairs almost to the 100 meter summit. From here, the strikingly distinctive rock fortresses of Sigirya are visible, but the five caves or shrine rooms of Dambulla lie ahead. All of these house multiple images of the Lord Buddha, either lying, standing or seated.
The astonishing frescoes and the sheer size and antiquity of the caves convinced UNESCO that Dambulla should be preserved as a World Heritage Site.
AACHEN CATHEDRAL: GERMANY
Aachen Cathedral, also called the “Imperial Cathedral” is a Roman Catholic Church in Aachen, Germany. This church is the oldest cathedral in Northern Europe and was known as the “Royal Church of St. Mary at Aachen” till recently.
From 936 to 1531, the Aachen chapel was the church of coronation for 30 German Kings and 12 Queens. The church is the Episcopal seat of the Diocese of Aachen.
The construction of the chapel between 793 and 813 symbolizes the unification of the West and its spiritual and political revival under the aegis of Emperor Charlemagne. He was buried here itself.
This chapel was build with Greek and Italian marble, bronze doors, large mosaics on its domes. Right from its inception, Aachen Church has been perceived as an exceptional artistic creation.
This chapel has strong imprints of both Classic and Byzantine tradition. The cathedral uses two distinct architectural styles. First, the Palatine Chapel of Charlemagne, modeled after San Vitale at Ravenna and considered to be Carolingian-Romanesque. Secondly, the choir is in the Gothic style.
Aachen Cathedral remains one of the oldest churches in Germany and contains a wealth of treasures from the early medieval period, including Charlemagne’s Throne (c.800), a golden altarpiece (c.1000), a golden pulpit (c.1020), the golden shrine of Charlemagne (1215), and the shrine of the Virgin Mary (1238). The last contains an impressive collection of relics and still attracts pilgrims.