Dambulla Cave Temple, Sri Lanka
Ranked #5 in Sri Lanka Tourism
Dambulla cave temple also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla a sacred pilgrimage site, is one the largest and best-preserved cave-temples in the world. It stands at a height of about 160 meters, positioned in the central part of Sri Lanka, 148 km east of Colombo and 75 Km north of Kandy.
Dambulla Golden Temple
This pilgrimage site is 22 centuries old and is one of the World Heritage sites in Sri Lanka since 1991.
There are approximately 85 caves in the surrounding area; however main attractions are the 5 caves which have been converted into shrine rooms. The caves consist of about 155 statues of Buddha, statues of three Sri Lankan Kings who were great devotees of Buddha and also statues of Hindu Gods and Goddesses. The paintings depicted are of Lord Buddha and his life.
The largest cave would measure 23 meters from entrance to the back, from left to right would measure about 52 meter and the highest point to the ceiling about 7 meters.
The first cave is known as “Cave of the Divine King” or “Devaraja lena” (lena in sinhalese meaning cave).At its entrance is described in a 1st-century Brahmi inscription the origin of the monastery. It has a statue of Buddha 14 meters tall which has been re-painted several times without losing its originality
The second cave known as “Cave of the Great Kings” or “Maharaja lena” is the largest cave. It has numerous standing and seated Buddha statues as well as status of Gods and kings. The tempera painting on the ceiling of the cave is dated back to the 18th century
The third cave “Great New Monastery” or “Maha Alut Vihara” has got paintings in Kandy style. Apart from 50 statues of Buddha there are statues of kings as well.
All these shrine rooms have Statues of Buddha in different sizes, the largest is 15 meters long and the art and culture of Sinhala are revealed. There is a cave with 1,500 paintings of Buddha covering the whole ceiling.
All along the path of the Dambulla Rock, you get a panoramic view of the surrounding landscape, which includes Sigiriya rock fortress, 19 km away.