Declared as a World Heritage City by UNESCO, Rock Cave Temple in Dambulla in Central Sri Lanka has been a place of worship for more than 2000 years.
Dambulla Cave Temple houses caves on top of a rock 160 meters above the ground, right on the noisy main road connecting the major cities of Colombo and Kandy. It is the largest and best preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka.
The access to Dambulla Cave Temple starts with a large Golden Stupa on one side and a large Golden Buddha Statue on the other side at the beginning of the route. The unassuming entrance to the caves suddenly reveals the treasure it has been housing for centuries. Statues of Buddhas in various mudras and positions, as well as wall paintings are awe inspiring and spell binding. No matter how many pictures of Dambulla Caves I had seen before, the first impression left me speechless!
History of The Dambulla Cave Temple
These rock caves are believed to have been frequented since the early 7th century BC. Prehistoric skeletons have been found around the caves. These caves served as a monastery to Buddhist monks who used to pass by the area. These Buddhist monks provided shelter to King Valagamba for 14 years, when he was driven out of Anuradhapur. Later in the 1st century BC, the king built this magnificent rock temple to offer gratitude to the monks in Dambulla.
The cave temple interiors were painted with Buddha images and statues in various poses. Subsequent kings repainted the murals and added to the decorations on the walls as well as to the statues. The murals and statues in the vivid colors that we see today were restored by Kandyan artists, primarily from the 18th century.
Travel tip shared by I Love Trippingilovetripping.com