The city of Dambulla is strategically located halfway between Trincomalee and Colombo, as well as between Anuradhapura and Kandy, getting little kilometers of Sigiriya. Dambulla beyond its attractions is waypoint required for those visiting the cultural triangle called passing by Kandy-Anuradhapura-Polonnaruwa.
But Dambulla appears on the tourist map by the Buddhist temples that nest in caves and for that simply called Dambulla Cave Temples, which are located on top of a granite massif rock that pop up from the flat landscape where the green tropical vegetation is torn by other rock elevations, among which is Sigiriya, sacred place for Buddhists and unavoidable steeped in history and Sinhalese culture.
Perhaps the simplicity, by age or by the atmosphere of being on a rock, a visit to these temples was strongly marked, where neither the lively conversations of the visitors or by the loud explanations of the guides, were enough to break the magic of the place.
The caves, five in total, are aligned along a horizontal fault in the rock mass, which was partially covered with a construction that “closes” the caves and creates a gallery along the rock. These temples dating from the first century B.C. and was subsequently the subject of restoration and renovations in the seventeenth and eighteenth century, during Kandyan Kingdom (or Kandy) which lasted until 1815, when the British troops arrived.
The interior of the caves is profusely decorated with paintings, where between religious motives are geometric patterns, mandalas and floral designs, and constitute a vast and valuable example of the Sri Lankan Buddhist Art. But what stands out at first glance are the dozens of Buddha statues in different styles and sizes, carved in wood or stone, representing Buddha in the usual sitting pose with different mudras (position of hand with different symbolic and spiritual meanings), but also reclined, representing the last moments before leaving the physical body and attain nirvana.
Many Sri Lankans come here to worship these stunning images that look in the serene face, depositing lotus flowers and praying. The atmosphere is dark and invites reflection and introspection, spiritual practices shared by all religious and belief, left a strong mark of this visit which extended for a long time, giving an opportunity to observe the comings and goings of pilgrims.
Dambulla Cave Temples fee:
In January 2016 admission to visit the Dambulla Cave Temples was free.
A recent decision by the Sri Lankan government eliminated (perhaps temporarily or definitively) the entry fee, which previously was $10 (about 1500 LKR).
Where to stay in Dambulla:
Gold Rock Guest House
Address: 45, Kandy Road, Dambulla
Contact: 066 2248 114, 71 118 8958
Email: [email protected]
Room for one person with bathroom: 1000 LKR
Where to eat in Dambulla: