Holiday Destinations / Asia, Indian Ocean, Middle East / Sri Lanka / Travel Guide / Dambulla
Sri Lanka’s most dramatic landscape, visitors are awestruck by the imposing presence of Sigiriya’s Lion Mountain rising from the central plains. This enigmatic formation, thought to be the impregnable palace and fortress of King Kasyapa (448 AD), raises vertically from the ground and culminates in a flat top that contains the ruins of his ancient civilisation. Sigiriya was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1982, and many believe it should be considered among the Wonders of the World.
Very close to Sigiriya and perfect for a day trip, the renown cave temple of Dambulla is no of Sri Lanka’s most iconic sites. One of the places to visit in Dambulla is the Golden Temple. This is sometimes referred to as Golden Buddha and Buddhist Museum. The Golden Buddha poses with Dharmachakra Mudra hand gesture and is about 30 meters high. A table in front of the enormous statue is for offerings of Buddhist devotees, like flowers and incense sticks.
This World Heritage Site comprises of a cave monastery and five sanctuaries. There are more than 80 documents caves within the 2000 feet of the temple’s premises, but there are five main complexes that have paintings and sculptures of Lord Buddha including the beautiful 45-foot sleeping Buddha statue. Though tourists mostly visit the city just to see these caves, there are other beautiful sights around the city like the Rose Quartz Mountain, Iron Wood Forest and the Rangiri Dambulla International Cricket Stadium which was built in just 167 days.
Most travellers combine a visit to Dambulla with a visit to Sigiriya’s ancient rock fortress.
The first cave, Devaraka Viharaya or Temple of the King of Gods, showcases a 15 metres long reclining Buddha. The next cave, Maharaja Viharaya, is often considered the most spectacular of them all. The main statue, depicting Biddha in the pose of protection, sits in this massive cave surrounded by an impressive archway decorated with dragons and flanked by a painted statue of Valagamba, Nissanka Malla, and other Hindu deities.
The third cave, Maha Alut Viharaya, is also filled with Buddha statues including a stunning reclining Buddha. The fourth cave shows Buddha seated in a meditative pose, and the fifth and newest cave contains a reclining Buddha and Hindu deities.
Additional sites in Dambulla worth noting include the Dambulla Produce Market and the Museum of Wall Paintings. A ride onboard an air balloon for spectacular views of the area, including Sigiriya which can be seen at a distance, is a popular activity among visitors to Dambulla.
Travelisto’s Discover Sri Lanka Tour takes you on day one from Colombo to Sigiriya and Dambulla. If you’d like to learn more about this amazing place, plan ahead of your trip, book the Discover Sri Lanka Tour, or start planning your own tailor-made experience with the help of our travel experts, please let us know and we’ll be happy to help you craft the perfect holiday in Sri Lanka based on your personal likes and dislikes, time, and budget.
We know Sri Lanka from personal experience and have done ourselves most of the activities we recommend here. If you’d like more information, tips and advice, and help planning and booking your holiday in Sri Lanka, feel free to get in touch by chat, phone, videoconference, or email. We are always here to help.
Travel Designer and Founder at Travelisto
More Holiday Destinations
- South Africa
- French Polynesia
- Costa Rica
- Tanzania and Zanzibar
- New Zealand
- US Southern States
- Argentina & Uruguay
- Canada & Alaska
- Western Canada
- Eastern Canada
- United States of America
- Western USA
- United Kingdom
- Sri Lanka
- USA Route 66