Dambulla Cave Temple is also known as the GOLDEN TEMPLE OF DAMBULLA. It is a World Heritage Site situated in the central part of SRI LANKA. Dambulla Cave Temple is located in Matala District of Sri Lanka. It is 148 km from Colombo, approximately 4-hour drive.
These are the best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. These are occupied by Buddhist hermits. There are more than 80 caves but majorly five caves are a tourist attraction. It contains 153 BUDDHA statues, 4 statues of GOD VISHNU & GANESH and 3 statues of Sri Lankan Kings. The walls are covered with murals depicting Buddha’s first sermon.
Temple complex is of first century BCE. Caves are carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. Dambulla Cave Monastery is best preserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka. Valagamba of Anuradhapura is believed to be the first to convert caves into a temple. Many kings in different centuries also added to its restoration.
These caves are built at the base of a 150m high rock. The first cave is known as Devraja Lena or Cave of Divine King. It holds a 14m statue of Buddha. At Buddha’s feet is Ananda(favorite pupil). Lord Vishnu is believed to use his powers in creating caves.
Cave of the Great King is the second but the largest cave. It holds 56 statues of BUDHHA, GOD SAMAN, VISHNU and statue of King Vattagamani Abhaya. It is called MAHARAJA LENE. There is a spring which drips water and believed to have healing powers.
Great New Monastery is in the third cave of MAHA ALUT VIHARA and has wall paintings in Kandy Style of the 18th century. There are 50 Buddha statues and a statue of a king.
Paschima Viharaya is the fourth cave also known as Western Temple. It is 54 feet long and 27 feet wide. There are 10 figures of Buddha. It has a beautiful figure of Buddha sitting in Meditative state. There are 2 entrances from Kandy Road and from Kurunegala Dambulla Road and fourth from Valagamba Pirivena. Each route is granite stepped.
These caves have more than 1500 paintings of Buddha covering the ceiling. These caves opens for people between 6:00 AM to 7:15 PM 7 days a week. It has granite steps so it is advisable to visit in the morning. Dambulla Cave has an entrance fee of $10 USD.