Golden Temple of Dambulla, Dambulla

4.4
#1 of 61 in Parks in Central Province
Must see · World heritage site · Cave · Religious Site
Visit the ancient complex of Golden Temple of Dambulla, a series of cave temples and a World Heritage Site. Step 22 centuries back in time as you explore the caves, carved in the side of the 150 m (492 ft) tall Dambulla Rock, overlooking the surrounding flatlands. Roaming the historic place of worship, you’ll encounter 157 statues, most of which are of Buddha, as well as countless vibrant murals depicting scenes from the life of the founder of Buddhism. To visit Golden Temple of Dambulla and other attractions in Dambulla, use our Dambulla trip builder app.
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Golden Temple of Dambulla reviews

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4.5
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  • World heritage site in Dambulla city symbolizes the great Buddhist culture in ancient Sri Lanka. This beautiful cave with buddha statues and drawings is a great place to visit. There is a modern...  more »
  • A historical and cultural site with breathtaking views. Most recommended and easiest climb to the Rock Temple is through the side of the Golden Temple...  more »
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  • Dambulla cave temple (Sinhalese: Dam̆būlū Len Vihāraya, Tamil Tampuḷḷai Poṟkōvil) also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla is a World Heritage Site (1991) in Sri Lanka, This temple complex dates back to the first century BCE. It has five caves under a vast overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. In 1938 the architecture was embellished with arched colonnades and gabled entrances. Inside the caves, the ceilings are painted with intricate patterns of religious images following the contours of the rock. There are images of the Lord Buddha and bodhisattvas, as well as various gods and goddesses. The Dambulla cave monastery is still functional and remains the best-preserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka. This complex dates from the third and second centuries BC, when it was already established as one of the largest and most important monasteries. Valagamba of Anuradhapura is traditionally thought to have converted the caves into a temple in the first century BC. Exiled from Anuradhapura, he sought refuge here from South Indian usurpers for 15 years. After reclaiming his capital, the King built a temple in thankful worship. Many other kings added to it later and by the 11th century, the caves had become a major religious centre and still are.The temples, which give this place celebrity, are parts of a vast cavern in the west side of the rock, at the height of about three hundred and fifty feet above the plain. Whet het the cavern in which these temples are formed, is altogether natural, or only partly natural, or only partly natural and partly artificial, it is now not easy to determine. The probability is, that it is principally natural, and that man has had very little to do in excavating it. The tradition has it that some of the caves were excavated by king Vattagamani Abhaya in the first century B. C. It can be surmised that this king and his successors, in benefaction to this place had to enlarge and smoothen the caves, and cut the drip-ledge (katarama) along the rock to protect the caves from rain water. Nissanka Malla of Polonnaruwa gilded the caves and added about 70 Buddha statues in 1190. During the 18th century, the caves were restored and painted by the Kingdom of Kandy.
  • I have been there several times. It's a great place to visit if you are Buddhist or lover of historic places. It's the largest and most well preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. It's situated on a large rock tower which gives a nice view of the surrounding area. The cave complex has five main caves with hundreds of statues, paintings and stupas. The central cave consists of a dripping water source which said to be there from the very beginning and never dries out. There is a well built stairs to climb the rock and the journey is pretty easy. Be aware of the monkeys during the climb because they tend to snatch things.

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