Guide to the Dambulla cave temple

Guide to the Dambulla cave templeDambulla cave temple is located near the city of Dambulla, on a granite rock which rises abruptly from the ground. The climbing of the granite rock is starting from the eastern side of the rock. The first few meters of the climbing goes through the slightly slippery stone surface and several steps in between. At the end of the initial climbing, there is a platform, where one can have a nice view over the beautiful surrounding. There are numbers of street vendors here, who are selling souvenirs, artifact, post cards, T-shirts, shirts, flowers and fruits for visitors.

The rest of the climbing to the temple is much easier than the first part due to the well formed steps. The steps are broad and wide even though they may be bit high. There are about 250 steps in the second part of climbing and takes about twenty minutes to reach the end of the steps. The entrance of the temple is located after the second part of the climbing and one can have a magnificent view over the surrounding vegetation from the main door. There are number of rice field and tanks around the Dambulla rock. Dambulla is located in the dry zone of Sri Lanka and the area is grown with dry zone ever green vegetation. Beautiful isolated hills also can be seen from the summit of the rock. One can see the Sigiriya rock from the distance, if the weather is clear. One reaches the inscription of King Nissankamalla from Polonnaruwa at about half way up on the climbing after the platform.

Second part of the climbing ends up in a open flat area on the rock and the entrance to the Dambulla cave temple follows.  The magnitude size doors of the temple stay opened during the visiting hours. Just after entering the temple premises, one can see the Bo tree and the caves are located towards the left-hand side.


First cave is known as Devaraja-lena, which houses the biggest reclining Buddha statues of the temple, the statue is 14 meters long. Reclining Buddha statue is hew to the granite rock. There are several more statues in the first cave such as Vishu Staue, statue of Ananada thera and meditation Buddha statue.


Being the biggest cave (60m long and 15m in height) in the temple, Maharaja-lena houses 66 Buddha statues in various sizes. Maharaja-lena considered being the most beautiful cave in this world heritage site. Buddha statues in the second cave are belongs to different periods and different rulers. Most of the statues had been adorned with gold during the 12th century AD. Other than the Buddha statues one can find several god-figures in the second cave alone with beautiful paintings that covers large part of the inner surface of the cave.


The third cave of the temple is known as Devaraja-lena, which is the youngest cave in the temple. Here one can find a statue of the last king of Sri Lanka, Kirti Sree Rajasinghe.

Pachima Vihara

This is the fourth cave of the temple and houses number of Buddha statues, one miniature dagoba and number of paintings. Most of the paintings are in bad condition due to the high humidity in the cave.

Devana Alut Vihara

Last cave of the temple houses large reclining Buddha statue with several other statues that are in meditation and standing postures.


About Sanjeewa Padmal Sri Lanka Holidays Author

I am Sanjeewa Padmal Punchihewa, a freelance software engineer, freelance National Tourist Guide Lecturer and part time blogger from Colombo, Sri Lanka. Please feel free to write me on the following email addresses for any further information on this topic. If you wish to visit this place, please write us, I am glad to help you.,
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