The Dambulla rock towers 600 feet above Kandy-Dambulla Road in the heart of Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle. Malkey Rent a Car allows excursions to the ancient Dambulla Rock Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and treasure-trove of religious artifacts and pre-Colonial art.
Visitors using Airport Transfers Sri Lanka will see the modern, roadside Buddhist Research Facility and Museum with its striking open-mouthed dragon entrance and the 30 meter tall golden, seated Buddha statue. Beside the modern Golden Buddha is the path leading 100 meters upwards to the historic ‘Rangiri Dambulu Vihara’ or Golden Rock Temple.
The Temple’s beauty is augmented by the sacred Bo Tree, lotus-filled pond and breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape including a distant view of the famous Sigiriya Rock. A white Kandyan-style building covers the entrance to the five caves that collectively house 157 Buddha statues alongside statues of prominent Sri Lankan Kings and deities. The development of the caves began in 1st Century B.C by King Valagamba with further improvements being made by King Nissankamalla of the Polonnaruwa period who painted the Buddha statues in their characteristic gold hue which gave the Temple its name. The first two caves are dedicated to deities and Sri Lanka’s Great Kings with statues of Kings Valagamba and Nissankamalla displayed among statues of deities Vishnu and Saman. The third and fifth caves were decorated in the 18th century during the Kandyan era and at times used as the royal warehouse.
All the caves contain gilded Buddha statues in various postures while the cave’s walls are decorated with traditional Kandyan art depicting significant events in Buddha’s life and Sri Lanka’s history. The country’s largest and best-preserved cave complex, the influence of the different dynastic eras is evident in the sculpted Buddha statues. Sheltered in the caves are attractions including Soma Stupa and a water collection bowl that miraculously never overflows despite incessant water drops that fall through the cave’s roof. The water’s source being the ‘rock fountain’ that gives Dambulla its name, the water is used for sacred rituals.
Pushpitha Wijesinghe is an experienced independent freelance writer. He specializes in providing a wide variety of content and articles related to the travel hospitality industry.