Dambulla Travel Guide provides useful information for tourists and visitors planning a sightseeing trip there
Dambulla Cave Temple is located in the town of Dambulla, in the middle of the arid Northern Plains. Dambulla is about 148 km east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. The Dambulla Cave Temple is the largest and best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. It is also called the Golden Temple of Dambulla. The rock towers 160 meters over the surrounding plains.
There are more than 80 documented caves in the Dambulla region, but the major attractions are spread over 5 caves. These are the ones containing some of the finest statues and wall paintings. The paintings and statues tell the story of Buddha and his life. All together, there are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of gods and goddessesm including two statues of the Hindu gods, Vishnu and Ganesh. The murals covers an area of 2,100 square meters. Depictions in the walls of the caves include Buddha's temptation by Mara (demon) and Buddha's first sermon.
Seated Buddha images line the cave wall in the dim recesses of Dambulla.
Dambulla is believed to be inhabited from as early as the 3rd Century BC. The statues and paintings date back to the 1st Century BC. They were repaired and repainted in 11th, 12th, and 18th century AD. The Dambulla caves provided refuge to King Walagamba, also called Vattagamini Abhaya, during his 14 year exile from Anuradapura. Buddhist monks meditating in the caves of Dambulla provided the exiled king protection from his enemies.
When King Walagamba returned to the throne at Anuradapura kingdom in the 1st century BC, he had the magnificent rock temple built as a gratitude to the monks in Dambulla.
In 1938 a loggia of arched colonnades and gabled entrances were built over the cave temples. Entering through these elegant passageway is like stepping into an ornate tent hung with bright carpets. Except that, it is the ceiling of the caves, which were meticulously painted with frescoes. In one of the caves you can find the last Kandyan king.
The Golden Temple of Dambulla was inscribed by Unesco as a World Heritage Site in 1991.
I visited Dambulla with a group of AsiaExplorers members one afternoon on August 30. We had to climb a little bit from the parking lot where our coach waited for us. As with the other tourist sites in Sri Lanka, t-shirt vendors were on us as soon as we arrived. We did get very good deals for the t-shirts bought here.
Visitors to the Dambulla Cave Temple.
Dambulla Photo Gallery
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