Dambulla Cave Temple

07th March 2019
Steuart Holidays Blog

An excursion to remember, the Dambulla Cave Temple offers its visitors a glimpse of history and ancient architecture. Marked as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Cave Temple is found in the district of Matale, Sri Lanka.

The Cave Temple is a cultural phenomenon. It is the largest and perhaps the most well-preserved cave temple in the country. Initially, the excursion requires a bit of a hike. To view the caves of ancient origins, a steady climb on a rocky hill is a necessary task. The effort made to the top of the cave temple is made completely worth as it indulges your senses with a spectacular view. You can even see the magnificent Sigiriya Rock Fortress from here!

Dambulla Cave Temple eclosure
Dambulla Rock Temple enclosure

Satisfying your culture thirsty appetite, there are five caves here of which the antiquity is traced to 1st century BC to the era of ancient Anuradhapura. It is believed that King Valagamba of Anuradhapura had taken refuge in these caves and as a pledge of gratitude had converted these caves into temples.

Carved out of rock, the first cave Devaraja Viharaya or Cave of the Divine King consists of a fourteen meters wide statue of Lord Buddha. The detailing of this statue includes Ananda a disciple of Lord Buddha at his feet, and Lord Vishnu at his head. The next cave, secondary with its proportions is a dedication to the Kings. Identified as Maharaja Lena or Cave of the Great Kings, the interior preserves two grandiose statues depicting King Nissankamalla of Polonnaruwa and King Vattagamini of Anuradhapura.

Numerous Buddha statues at Dambulla Rock Temple
Numerous Buddha statues at Dambulla Rock Temple

Displaying over fifty statutes of Lord Buddha and exquisite murals, the third cave is fittingly called Great New Monastery or Maha Alut Viharaya. The artistic motif found in the paintings is said to be an influence of the Kandyan Era. Considered to be the most attractive cave in the complex, Paschima Viharaya also known as the Western Temple is considered to be the oldest cave here. It maintains ten statues of Lord Buddha and a small a dagoba named Soma Chethiya in reverence to Soma Devi, the wife of King Walagamba. A relatively recent addition to the complex, the fifth cave Devana Aluth Viharaya is home to both statues of Lord Buddha and a few Hindu deities.

The Golden Buddha statue
The Golden Buddha statue

Lingering around the temple at this height is only natural. The exterior of the temple embodies the tranquillity of its surroundings. delighting you further, its beauty is further enhanced is a picturesque pond. When you climb down the cave temple, you arrive at the foot of the hill where you will be in view of the great Golden Temple of Dambulla. Thirty meters in height, the Golden Buddha statue here denotes an East Asian influence in its appearance.

If you wish to experience unparalleled Buddhist architecture set amidst one of the most beautiful locations in the country, a visit to the Dambulla Cave Temple is a must!

Learn More about the Dambulla Cave Temple, Nearby Hotels and Related Tours.