The 150 statues of Buddhas and a few other structures of kings and gods are the leading highlights of the place that support the 5 sanctuary rooms inside the rocks.
Also, you will know the history of Buddhism and how the caves were formed and discover that one of them is not as old as the others.
Come with us in more adventure and Dambulla, and its archaeological mysteries await you with much history and spirituality.
- Where is Dambulla – Sri Lanka?
- Places to visit in Dambulla
- How to move around in Dambulla?
- How to get in and out of Dambulla
- Is it worth staying overnight in Dambulla?
- The weather and the best time to visit Dambulla
- How many days to stay in Dambulla
Where is Dambulla – Sri Lanka?
Dambulla is a city that is located in the Cultural Triangle of the country near other important monuments like Sigiriya. Continue reading below that we suggest tips to create an exciting itinerary.
Places to visit in Dambulla
As said, it is in Dambulla that you will find one an essential Buddhist symbol in Sri Lanka – the Dambulla Cave Temple.
Dambulla has more to offer than just feeling the cave’s environment: you can relax with the breathtaking views high in the mountains.
Take care, and it follows the tradition of covering the shoulders, the legs, and no shorts. Give more details of what you will see inside the massive rocks.
Dambulla Cave Temple
Undoubtedly the main attraction of the city is the Dambulla Cave Temple, a sanctuary built on a vast rock pierced with 5 caves.
It has been declared a World Heritage Site and is considered the most abundant and most conserved caves complex in the country.
As you look at this spectacular work, you will be ecstatic about the human capacity to build something so grand, fitting it perfectly into nature.
In addition to the details of the place itself, the location of this otherworldly complex impresses even more …
It is off the main road of Matale and is located at 100 meters of altitude and about 4 km from the city. No need to despair that the walk to get to the place is quiet and without much hindrance.
However, before going passes the box office and for 1500 rupees you buy your ticket. Then just give the ticket at the concierge and start walking up the steps. When you get there, you can take pictures of the place but in no way whatsoever of the people. Respect
You will see a total of 5 caves, each of which features 150 vivid Buddha statues, kings, other gods and a myriad of paintings and artistic representations of the time.
Devaraja Viharaya Cave
Just as you step into the environment, you will see the first cave, the Temple of the King of the Gods with many stories depicted in the paintings about Buddha’s life.
To prove that human capacity really is superior to all limitations and no matter the resources available or the time, a heart that reverence and believe in its divinity suffices. When looking at this place, you will be amazed by the perforations of 7 meters of the rock.
Also, you’ll see the 15-meter statues of Buddha and his faithful disciple Ananda and another more hidden than Vishnu’s. The latter is kept in the little sanctuary within that cave, and no one can see it.
Maharaja Viharaya Cave
Then you will be directed to the most incredible golden cave called the Temple of the Great King. It is full of Buddhist gods and some of Hinduism.
At the entrance, you will see on the left a wooden statue of Valagamba and inside of Nissanka Malla.
Also, the cave also houses the central statue of Buddha that shines as if it had been covered with pure gold. This relic is surrounded by dragons (protect from negative energies) and with the right hand raised in a position of reverence.
Another interesting point is that they use water that always flows down the temple ceiling for the sacred rituals.
Maha Alut Viharaya Cave
Then there is this third cave called the New Great Temple. It is separated from the second cave by the masonry wall.
This place impresses with secular history. According to reports, in the last reign of the Kandyanos, it would have been used as a pantry. True or not. The cave is exciting and surrounded by various Buddha sculptures.
Pachima Viharaya Cave
The last but one cave was already considered as Western Cave but lost the post to the previous cave (soon we will talk about it).
The location of the Buddha is a major sculpture in Buddha is in a meditative position with the hands tuned in a shell formation.
Devana Alut Viharaya Cave
This last cave is the most recent. In the past it was a warehouse. It is also surrounded by Hindu gods like Kataragama and Vishnu, as well as Buddha, of course.
The view of the Sigiriya mountain
Just as the Dambulla caves were built on top of the mountains, only a few meters away you will see another natural richness and mysteries: the archaeological site of Sigiriya.
While in the Dambulla cave, look at a breathtaking view and for a few moments stand motionless before the deep and rich natural landscapes of the place.
Hot air balloon in Dambulla
Flying a hot air balloon is an experience that you need to encounter in your passage through Dambulla (depends on the season) preferably early.
Imagine yourself on the heights and lose your earthly vision as you contemplate the contrast of mountain riches, monuments, and shining lakes. At that moment he feels closer to heaven and to the soft rays of sunlight that leave in the morning.
However, it is only possible to experience this experience between November and the beginning of May. For at this time, the climate is more stable and predictable. The best thing is to go in the first hours of the day. Continue reading the front you will understand about Dambulla’s climate.
How to move around in Dambulla?
Upon arriving at Dambulla, you have the option of taking a bus – more time consuming and the other one that is asking for a tuk-tuk – more recommended.
Even because if you are tuk-tuk you can visit everything in one day and you already go to another city like Sigiriya.
To do this, just head to the center of Dambulla and there take a tuk-tuk to negotiate the passage to the temple of Dambulla and continue to Sigiriya.
Take advantage also and reserve your safari in the Kaudulla National Park or Minneriya. By negotiating prices well, your trip will be faster and more economical for this region – as there are plenty of other incredible cities in Sri Lanka.
How to get in and out of Dambulla
To get to Dambulla depends on your travel itinerary and what to do next.
In case you are coming from Kandy or Colombo: go to the bus station of any of the cities – which always leave at regular times to Dambulla.
As Dambulla is in a hot zone, it is best to go on a bus with air conditioning or a minivan. The trip lasts a maximum of 2 hours either leaving from Kandy or Colombo.
We have a full article on transportation in Sri Lanka in which you will have precious information on how to move from one city to another and trading tips with the Sinhalese.
Is it worth staying overnight in Dambulla?
As you know, Dambulla is a city without many attractions, so it is ideal for staying one day and going away at night. Now, if you want to have the experience of flying in the hot air balloon, you’ll have to stay for two days.
If you still want to rest and the next day go to Sigiriya, check out these hotel suggestions:
The Sundaras Resort and Spa is a very comfortable and complete complex in every way. It is located 10 minutes from the cave is an excellent place to rest in Dambulla.
Choose the pool or garden view from your room. Also, travelers can choose suites, non-smoking rooms and upgrade with extra services like the spa.
Are you going to spend a night here choosing the economic and nice Nature Tourist Inn? He is very close to the cave, so he compensates even more for practicality.
The hotel offers rooms with options for air conditioning, wireless internet, and laundry services. It also has private bathrooms.
Rock View Home Stay is a hotel located on the Pirivena road just a few kilometers from the center of Dambulla.
The accommodation has rooms, bathtubs, a living room and a garden to relax and enjoy the scenery. They offer in-room breakfast services and wifi by courtesy of the house.
Make yourself at home with the modest, family-friendly Summerset Hostel. The recommendations are that the hotel is intended for non-smoking travelers. Make yourself comfortable at the dining table and choose the best from the menu.
The weather and the best time to visit Dambulla
The climate of Dambulla is predominantly hot for much of the year, so expect temperatures from 21ºC to 38ºC. Both winter and summer bring warm temperatures, totally the opposite of other regions of Sri Lanka like Hortons Plains.
There are two eras to stroll and visit Dambulla: between the end of August until the middle of September and the end of December until the beginning of March.
Be aware of other times of the year because this area is hit by devastating monsoons that can disrupt your ride in Dambulla. By the way, check out our article and the tips about the best time to visit Sri Lanka.
How many days to stay in Dambulla
As Dambulla is limited, then the maximum you stay in the city is one day. Even because in one to two hours is
As we have seen, each cave has its history, its symbols, its religious and cultural meanings. Even though the attractions are limited be sure to go and get to know the artistic wealth of Dambulla.
Did you like the Dambulla article in Sri Lanka? Know the other suggestions of cities to travel in Sri Lanka.