The city of Dambulla is situated in the Matale District in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, an archaeological and historical site with a history extending from prehistoric and protohistoric times down to this modern era.
Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla cave temple also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla. Dating back to the 1st Century BC. this is the most impressive cave temple in Sri Lanka. It has five caves under a overhanging rock, carved with a drip line to keep the interiors dry. Inside the caves, the ceiling are painted with religious images as well as various gods and goddesses. There are images of the Buddha and the Bodhisattva. The temple has several caves which have been converted into shrine rooms. The caves were built at the base of a 150 m high rock during the period of Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa kingdoms.
The famous Dambulla Cave Temple is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The Dambulla cave monastery remains the best-preserved ancient edifice in Sri Lanka.
Out of the five caves, the first cave is called as “Devarajalena” (Cave of the Divine King), the 1st Century Brahmi inscriptions over the entrance to the first cave records the founding of the cave. The 14 m reclining Buddha statue in this cave has been painted many times in the course of history.
The largest is the second cave and there are sixteen standing and forty seated statues of Buddha. The statues of God Saman and Vishnu in this cave are often garlanded by devotees. The other statues are of King Vatta Gamini and King Nissanka Malla and this cave is named as “Maharajalena” (Cave of the Great Kings).
The third cave is named as “Maha Aluth Viharaya” (Great New Monastery) and there is a statue of King Keerthi Sri Rajasinha who reigned in Kandy (1747-1781). The other two are small caves.