Points of Interest - Dambulla

Dambulla Cave Temple

Interiors of the Cave Temple
Buddha Statue of Dambulla
Dambulla Rock Cave Temple
Buddha statues inside the cave

Situated in the Matale District, Central Province of Sri Lanka, Dambulla is famous for its Dambulla Rock Cave Temples. A large cave temple complex decorated with country’s finest murals.

Also known as the Golden temple of Dambulla, this temple is a world heritage site situated in the heart of Sri Lankan Cultural Triangle.

The construction was done in the King Vattagamini Abhaya’s also known as Valagamba period. It is identified that this is the very location where king Valagamba was hiding during the South Indian invasion, and strategised the re-claim the kingdom after 12 years.

To pay gratitude to the Buddhist monks who gave refuge, it’s said the king had built this magnificent temple surrounding the caves in 1st century BC. There are over 80 documented caves surrounding the plains. There are a total of 153 Buddha statues, 3 statues of Sri Lankan kings and 4 statues of god and goddess, all related to Buddha and his life. 

Another interesting fact about the caves is that the Archaeologists confirm that this cave and other numerous caves around the main rock had been in use as dwellings in pre-historic times. Human skeletons were found on scientific analysis to give evidence of civilizations in this area long before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka. Also evidence of ancient people living on agriculture has been detected in this area for over 2700 years according to archaeological findings (750 BC).

The temple of the King of Gods, Dev Raja Viharaya is believed that the king of Gods, God Sakka gave the finishing touches to the principal image of this cave. Maha Raja Viharaya is considered to be by far the largest and the most impressive one amongst the cares in this place. The third cave, Maha Aluth Viharaya is separated from the second cave by a wall of masonry and it was used as store room before the eighteenth century. The beautiful figure of the Buddha seated in the meditation posture, dhyana mudra is situated in the Pachima Viharaya or the Western Temple. The last cave has no historical value as it was built in the second decade of the century.

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