The guide book wasn't very complementary about Dambulla town but we found it had a bustle and character all of its own. Mainly in the form of our tuk tuk driver Jagath. He met us off the bus and stuck with us all the way until we left on the bus to our next location a few days later.
He helped us understand the lay of the land there and arranged for a trip to the local cave temple which Dambulla is quite famous for.
Now we have to say, that we were all prepared to miss this off our itinerary as we thought we would not have time to see everything. As we had the time however, we went along and climbed the steep hill in the afternoon heat to see what we would have missed.
We were all really pleasantly surprised as the caves were a beautiful and serene place. A ginormous cave had been partitioned into 5 separate caves each with Buddhas in.
Jagath was waiting for us when we came out and he whisked us off to our next stop. With the promise of hundreds of elephants waiting for us, we pessimistically set off on safari at Minneriya National Park.
Our worst fears were set aside when after a couple of kms in, we saw some wild elephants in the forest. Then a few more. Then a few more. Then we turned a corner and there were hundreds of them just as Jagath has promised there would be :-)
We were all so excited as there were elephants everywhere we looked. It seems that in the evenings they all come to the lake to drink, play and cool off.
What a day!
Back at our Hotel we got an early night as we had an early start the next day to see Sigiriya