According to Buddhist legend, after the Buddha attained enlightenment, his feet made an imprint in the stone where he stepped. The footprints of the Buddha (Buddhapada) are highly revered in all Buddhist countries, especially in Sri Lanka and Thailand, as symbols of Buddha's presence.
Symbolizing the grounding of the transcendent, feet are also considered objects of respect.
These beautifully painted soles belong to the 14 meter long, reclining Buddha housed inside the Devaraja Lena, one of the five cave temples in Dambulla. The cave's interior is extremely small and the stone statue of Buddha pretty occupies all of it. There is barely a few feet of space between his head and feet and the cave walls.
Most people walk into the small cave to stand in front of the Buddha and to leave flowers on the altar. Few venture to look at the soles of his feet but anyone who walks over to the far wall to look at Buddha's feet will be rewarded with this view of his beautifully painted soles.
If you go to Cave Temple Complex at Dambulla, be sure to buy at least two bunches of lotus flowers that you can leave behind as offerings as you visit the various temples. And, for every reclining Buddha you come across, be sure to check out his feet and leave a flower or two!