Stupa Dome in Dambulla Cave Temple — Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Arch, Dome or Half Circle

This is our entry in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Arch, Dome or Half Circle.

One of the most interesting places we visited during a trip to Sri Lanka this February is the Buddhist Dambulla Cave Temple. It would be easy to spend hours visiting the site. Inside the temple, which comprises multiple caves, are bell-shaped stupas surrounding relics. There are beautiful views in every direction. The following image shows one of them.

This photo was taken on February 3, 2018. Specs are:

Olympus TG-4, ISO 800, f/2, 1/13 sec, 7.6 mm

Sunset over Bagan Pagodas

This is our entry in The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Rise/Set.

Sometimes we think that there are too many sunset photos. Then we find ourselves in a beautiful location with a magnificent sunset and we can’t resist capturing the image.  We climbed the steep, handrail-free, steps of the Shwesandaw Pagoda with several hundred very new friends (all of us in our bare feet) to take this shot. When we finally got back to the ground, we agreed the climb had been worth it.

This photo was taken from an upper level of the Shwesandaw Pagoda in Bagan, Myanmar, on February 9, 2017. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/16, 1/100 sec, 135mm

Ritual Bathing at Kataragama Temple

Ritual purification in religion can involve bathing in a river to maintain purity prior to an important act.  The bathers seen in the Menik Ganga in the following photo are preparing to enter the Kataragama Temple near Tissamaharama, Sri Lanka, a sacred site for Buddhists, Hindus, Muslims, and Vedda people. Although the water didn’t seem clean to us, physical impurities don’t diminish the ritual purity such bathing brings to the believers.


This photo was taken on February 14, 2018. Specs are:

Canon 100D, ISO 100, f/11, 1/60 sec, 50 mm.


Smoky Serenity in Bagan

This is our entry in The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge: Serene.

This post highlights another photo shoot in Bagan, Myanmar, with the international award-winning photographer Maung Maung Bagan.  (The first photo shoot is described at Bagan Photo Shoot 1: I need a map.)

This is a temple we visited in the late afternoon. It was locked, but Maung Maung had arranged for a “key man” to let us in for about $4 US.  He had also arranged for the novice Buddhist monk to be our model for another $4. 

We know that there must be particles in the air to capture sun rays in photos.  In the West, either a smoke machine or a can of spray smoke is used to illuminate the sunbeams. These normally come with strict warnings about allergies, safety, etc.  Gavin Hoey, one of our favorite presenters on YouTube, carefully describes these warnings each time smoke is used.  Maung Maung brought small bundles of some kind of dried grass, tossed them in the window behind the little monk, and lit them. The smoke was both photographically effective and choking.  After the shoot, we stood in the window where the monk is seen in the photo. We had difficulty breathing and our eyes watered.  Only then did we realize what we had just put the little novitiate through.

This photo was taken on February 8, 2017. Specs are:

Canon SL1, ISO 1600, f/7.1, 1/80 sec, focal length 18 mm


This is our response to the WordPress weekly challenge Transformation.

In the US, we don’t have much experience with the Buddha Hand Lemon.  We think we have discovered the reason it had not yet become popular. This is illustrated in the following slideshow.

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The Sun Peeking over the Mountains in Kyaiktiyo

This our entry for The Daily Post Photo Challenge: Peek.

This photo shows the early morning sunrise from our room in the Mountain Top Hotel in Kyaiktiyo on the day we visited the Golden Rock Pagoda. The photo shows the sun barely peeking over the mountains in the distance before the start of a glorious day.


This photo was taken on February 6, 2017. Specs are:

Canon SL1, ISO 100, f/22, 1/15 sec, 90 mm full-frame equivalent.


The Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath

This is our entry in Dutch goes the Photo!’s Tuesday Photo Challenge – Old.

Gautama Buddha is the Buddha upon whose teachings Buddhism was founded. During Buddha’s lifetime,  he identified four important sites for pilgrimage: Bodh Gaya, where he attained enlightenment; Lumbini, his birthplace in Nepal; Sarnath, where he delivered his first teaching, the dharma; and Kusinara, where he died and attained nirvana-after-death. 

In September 2014, we visited Sarnath, located almost one mile northeast of Varanasi in the Indian State of Uttar Pradesh. The Dhamek Stupa, built in 500 AD, enlarged several times but still unfinished, is believed to be at the same location in the deer park in Sarnath where the Buddha delivered his first teaching to his five disciples. The stupa is just over 140 feet tall and 90 feet across at the base. Because it is an important pilgrimage site, many people visit this stupa and walk around it clockwise three times while reciting a mantra or prayer.

The Dhamekh Stupa in Sarnath

This photo was taken on November 19, 2014. Specs are:

Olympus TG-3, ISO 100, f/4.5, 1/500 sec, 9.61 mm