Dambulla

Dam̆būlū Len Vihāraya Len - Tampuḷḷai Poṟkōvil - Golden Cave Temple - Golden Temple - Dambulla Royal Cave Temple


Useful Information

Location: On the main road from Sigiriya to Kandy, 19 km from Sigiriya, 72 km from Kandy.
(7.857270, 80.648592)
Open: All year daily 7-.
[2021]
Fee:
Classification: SubterraneaCave Church ArchaeologyPainted Cave
Light: electric, bring torch
Dimension:
Guided tours:
Photography: not allowed inside
Accessibility:
Bibliography:
Address: Dambulla Royal Cave Temple and Golden Temple, Kandy - Jaffna Hwy, Dambulla, Tel: +94-662-283-605.
As far as we know this information was accurate when it was published (see years in brackets), but may have changed since then.
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History

1st cty built by King Walagambahu or Valagamba.
1991 inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List.

Description

photography
Dambulla cave temple. Public Domain.

Dambulla is a complex of five natural caves with cave temples built inside them. They are reached by walking up a slope, and it is necessary to remove one's shoes before entering the paved temple courtyard. From this courtyard only the decorative facades are visible, hiding the caves behind.

The Buddhist cave temples contain Buddha statues and more than 150 images of Buddha. The largest statue of Buddha is a colossal figure carved out of rock, spanning 14 m. There are also several statues depicting Hindu gods which are from the 12th century. The later paintings are from the 18th century. The roofs and walls of all caves are covered in frescoes, altogether there are more than 2,000 m² of painted walls. This makes Dambulla the largest area of paintings in the world and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Some of the interiors are gilded.

The caves are said to be subtly lit for maximum atmosphere. However, it might be a good idea to bring a small torch to see the pictures better. Photography is not allowed, as once a tourist was discovered posing for a photograph by sitting on the foot of a Buddha statue.

There are over 80 caves in the surrounding area and some of them have been used by the monks for meditation.