April 6, 2015

1444, 1514 SRI LANKA - Golden Temple of Dambulla (UNESCO WHS)

1444 Golden Temple of Dambulla - Maha Raja Vihara

Posted on 07.02.2015, 06.04.2015
Situated in the central part of the country, Golden Temple of Dambulla, also known as Dambulla Cave Temple, is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area, and the rock towers 160m over the surrounding plains. This temple complex dates back to the 1st century BC, but prehistoric Sri Lankans would have lived in these cave complexes before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka as there are burial sites about 2700 years old in this area.

1514 Golden Temple of Dambulla - The Golden Buddha statue

The larger site incorporates a set of individual units reflecting all phases of site development from the megalithic period to the present day, including a monastic chapter house, bo-tree temple, dagoba and the earliest known village in Sri Lanka. Those are located within a site of considerable natural beauty and power. The complex has five caves under a vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. In 1938 the architecture was embellished with arched colonnades and gabled entrances. 

Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with intricate patterns of religious images following the contours of the rock. This complex dates from the 3rd and 2nd centuries BC, when it was already established as one of the largest and most important monasteries, and is still functional. King Valagambahu is traditionally thought to have converted the caves into a temple in the 1st century BC. Exiled from Anuradhapura, he sought refuge here from South Indian usurpers for 15 years. After reclaiming his capital, the King built a temple in thankful worship. Many other kings added to it later and by the 11th century, the caves had become a major religious centre and still are.

About the stamps
On the postcard 1444

The first stamp, designed by Ruwan Upasena, was issued on July 22, 2012 to mark Centenary of the Department of Agriculture, and depicted the gateway of the Bata-Atha Agro-Techno Park constructed structuring had in had posture symbolizing national co-operative approach and the altruism of the farmer community. It is the world first Agrarian monument and the handwork is indigenous to Sri Lanka.

The second stamp is one of the two issued on December 2, 2012, for the Christmas, with the theme Bring the purpose of the birth of Jesus Christ to our Families:
• 5.00 LKR (designed by Vojitha Heshan Herath)
• 25.00 LKR (designed by K.G. Morini Anjela Thalis)

The third stamp is part of the serie issued in 2014 to celebrate Vesak, about which I wrote here. The fourth is also part of the serie issued to celebrate Vesak, but in 2013 (issued on May 18, 2013), with the theme Sathara Pera Nimith (Four Omens):
• Prince Siddhartha Encountered an Old Man (4.00 LKR)
• Prince Siddhartha Encountered a Diseased Man (5.00 LKR) - It's on the postcard
• Prince Siddhartha Encountered a Decaying Corpse (15.00 LKR)
• Prince Siddhartha Encountered an Ascetic (50.00 LKR)

The last stamp is part of the series World Tourism Day 2011, consists of 10 stamps issued on September 27, 2011.

On the postcard 1514

The first stamp, depicting Mountain Hourglass Tree Frog (Taruga eques), a species only found in Sri Lanka, was issued on March 3, 2014, to mark the first World Wildlife Day.

The second and the third stamp, depicting Binara Flower and Shoe Flower, are part of the series Flowers of Sri Lanka, about which I wrote here. The fourth stamp is part of the series Zodiac, issued on October 9, 2007. The fifth is one of the two issued on January 12, 2014, to celebrate Thai Pongal - Farmers Festival. The last stamp is part of the series World Tourism Day 2011, about which I wrote above.

Dambulla cave temple - Wikipedia
Golden Temple of Dambulla - UNESCO official website
Dambulla Cave Temple - Architecture, history and travel of Sri Lanka

Sender 1444, 1514: Amith Gamage
Sent from Homagama (Western Province / Sri Lanka), on 04.11.2014
Photo: Juergen Schreiber

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