Cave Temples and Monkey Madness

Trip Start May 11, 2005
Trip End Ongoing

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Flag of Sri Lanka  ,
Sunday, March 22, 2009

Damulla is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains.There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. The major attractions are spread over 5 caves, which contain statues and paintings.  These paintings and statues are related to Buddha and his life.  
      To get to this place I had to climb that 160 m up a never ending stair case.   The path went right by a very cheesy looking museum with giant Buddha and some sort of crazy red face dragon looking thing.   On my way up the stairs I stopped to buy an ice cream.  Out of no where 2 big aggressive male monkey came to try and steal it.  At first I thought this was cute and a little cheeky but their bared teeth said otherwise. These guys actually thought they could take it out of my hands!  NOT SO!  I started to kick at them and show my teeth but they still would not back off.  The ice cream vendor got involved and we were able to make them keep their distance.  After I finished the ice cream I gave a goofy looking monkey my cone but he had to take it politely!
   After paying the hefty entrance fee I set off to explore the cave temples.  Since I was there in the middle of the day I had the entire complex to myself!  It was pretty cool wondering around the caves and checking everything out in complete silence.  After exploring a bit a group of monks came into caves and were more curious about me than the temple itself.  I snapped a couple of photos with them and we chatted for awhile.  One thing that I'm continuously asked is why I am by myself.....  I normally reply because because I smell but for some reason this never translates and I have yet to get a laugh... maybe I should switch tactics....
    On my way down the hill I passed through the beggar gauntlet.  Beggars love temples just like they love churches and mosques because people are always more genourous in these areas.  They put all their deformities or lack of appendages on display to increase their begging power!  After clearing this area, I came across a large troop of monkey hanging out on the path and in the trees.  Since I am forever fascinated by these creatures I sat down to watch them.  These guys are use to tourist and did not mind that I was among them.  Suddenly the monkeys started to scream and violently shake branches.  Another troupe of monkeys appeared from another tree and all hell broke loose!  It was a monkey gang fight!   There were monkeys falling out of trees, biting, shrieking and running amok!    After about 3 minuets one of the troupes ran away and the fight was over.   The winning  group took over the tree I was under!  I should have grabbed the nearest monkey and kicked it's ass so they would let me in their gang......but I froze....Im so STUPID.........I missed my chance!
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