Sri Lanka Tours & Travel Information

Ancient city Dambulla, Sri Lanka

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Price: 15 USD
Contact Ancient city Dambulla, Sri Lanka
Sri Lanka Tourism Head Office
Tel: +94 112426900
Fax: +94 112 440001 / 2426984


Dambulla Ancient City is a big town, situated in the Matale District, Central Province of Sri Lanka.


Ancient Dambulla is 12 km away from Sigiriya is an isolated colossal rock mass. Dambula has numerous caves surrounding the area.

Ancient city Dambulla is notable for its sacred caves, which served as shrines in prehistoric times and were occupied in the 2nd century BC by Buddhist monks, who established a monastery here. In 90 BC they provided a refuge for King Vattagamini Abhaya, who established a temporary capital here after abandoning Anuradhapura when it was attacked by the Tamils and according to tradition it was he who made the caves into a centre of worship and pilgrimage.

Dambulla Caves:
The sacred caves are near the top of a gneiss hill, the lower part of which a dark grey mass with a slightly convex surface, like the back of a giant whale. After a climb of 100 m the path (perfumed by the frangipane trees) leads on to a terrace in which the mouths of five caves: the first cave known as The Temple of the King of the Gods (Dev Raja Viharaya). The cave holds infinite wall and ceiling paintings as well as the well preserved images. One of the striking images in the temple is one that depicts the Parinibbana or the passing of the Buddha; the second cave (Maja Raja Viharaya), the largest (53 m long, 23 m wide, 7 m high), contains about 50 life-size statues of Buddha, a figure of Vishnu unexpected in a place of Buddhist worship, and the figures of some ancient king. With the aid of candles provided by the guide it is possible to see some wall paintings of relatively modern date. The oldest may date from the 18th century; some may be copies or restorations of earlier 11th or 12th century paintings; the third cave (Maja Alut Viharaya) was converted into a shrine room by King Kirthi Sri Raja Singhe during 18th century. The cave houses around fifty Buddha images. The principal image of this cave is the standing figures, carved out of the natural rock, placed under the ornate gateway facing the entrance; the fourth temple known as the Western Temple (Pascima Viharaya) contains 10 proportional figures of the Buddha; the fifth cave (Devana Alut Viharaya) is the smallest of all the shrine rooms in the area. Here one can find eleven images of Buddha in which the most prominent one is the recumbent Buddha image.

(Here and in other caves and temples a good electric torch is a useful accessory for the alternatively flash photography will provide a more permanent record which can be studied at leisure after returning home.)

The Golden Temple, Dambulla
Located on the Eastern side of the Royal Rock Temple is the Golden Temple. It possesses all the prescribed distinctiveness needed for its completeness. It is a sacred pilgrimage for more than 22 centuries. The imposing giant golden Buddha sitting on the roof of the Golden Temple was said to be the largest of its kind in the world. This statue was built in 1998 and was completed in 2001. The temple houses remarkable collection of statues of Buddha, Bodhisattas as well as several Hindu deities. There are also magnificent displays of environmental landscapes and modern museum which features recent history of Sri Lankan Buddhist culture.

Specific details

Must See Dambulla Golden Cave Temple, Dev Raja Viharaya, Maja Raja Viharaya, Maja Alut Viharaya, Pascima Viharaya, Devana Alut Viharaya, Dambulla Caves, Vegetables Market
Opening Hours 6:00 AM - 6:00 PM
Best time to visit Year Round
Entrance Tickets Required Yes
Restaurant Available Yes
Parking Available Yes
Payment Options Payment upon arrival, Credit card
Duration 2hours
Local Guide Available Yes


Dambulla, Matale District, Sri Lanka



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Users' reviews


Nice Place

Really nice place to visit, the Golden Temple and later on the climb to the Dambulla Caves...Very nice painting in the overhanging rock..Great experience.
Beware of the Monkeys who keep always a eye on you ;-)

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