The idyllic island nation of Sri Lanka is home to eight UNESCO World Heritage Sites which are scattered across the country, and are iconic destinations that are visited by tourists and locals alike. From Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa, cities that have served as the site of power throughout centuries, the iconic royal palace atop the naturally formed rock, Sigiriya and the frequently visited town of Galle in the Southern area of the country, to the beautiful Central Highlands and the Sinharaja Forest Reserve with its rich biodiversity, a visit to the UNESCO World Heritage Sites when in Sri Lanka will give any curious traveller an insight into the country’s history, and natural beauty.
Tourists hoping to visit Sigiriya will naturally find themselves looking for a comfortable hotel in Sigiriya to return to after a gruelling climb to the summit of the rock. However, for those who choose to stay in Heritance Kandalama, Sigiriya is not the only UNESCO World Heritage Site within reach. They will also have the privilege of visiting another site, namely the Dambulla Cave Temple, a site rich in history, heritage and provides its visitors with an insight into the religious practices of the locals.
It is believed that prior to the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, there was prehistoric occupation of the caves. This belief is supported by the discovery of burial sites containing human skeletons that date over two thousand five hundred years.
Subsequent to the introduction of Buddhism in Sri Lanka, however, the Rock Cave is believed to have been used as a monastery, which it still continues to function as today. As a result, the Dambulla Cave Temple hosts 153 Buddha statues amongst numerous other statues of gods, goddesses and former kings of Sri Lanka, while the walls of the cave are adorned with various depictions from the time of the Buddha, as well as significant tales connected to Buddhism.
Shehera Fioni is a travel writer who writes under the pen name Catalina Forbes. Her content is based on many thrilling escapades offered to travellers across the world.