There are many attractions to see in Dambulla. Popular sights to see include the famous Sigiriya Rock or theMinneriya Park. Then there’s the famous Dambulla Cave Temple, an ancient site where you canexplore and discover the secrets hidden within. It is no coincidence that many a Sigiriya hotel – for example, the Heritance Kandalama – include this attraction in their itinerary list.
The Five Caves
The temple is made up of five main caves that are linked together via a shrine room. Each cave is dedicated to a certain aspect of ancient Sri Lankan culture. These were essentially the institutions that ruled over the people of this time – the king, the gods, and religion.
The Cave of the Divine King
The first cave you’ll come across is the Cave of the Divine Kings. A stunning 14m reclining Buddha statue that’s been carved out of the rock sits at the cave’s centre. A carving of the god Vishnu, whose divine power is said to have created these caves lies at the head of the statue, while one of Buddha’s helper, Ananda, is found on the opposite side.
The Cave of the Great Kings
The largest cave in the temple harbours numerous statues of Buddha, and the gods Saman and Vishnu. It also portrays the likeness of some of Sri Lanka’s most famous Kings – all of whom are carved into the stone.
The Great Monastery
The third cave houses the great monastery which contains even more Buddha statues than the previous cave. It also has a lone statue of King Kirti Sri Rajasingha, a Kandyan King who renovated the cave system during his reign.