Dambulla Golden Cave Temple: A Glimpse into Sri Lanka’s Spiritual Heritage.

Nestled amidst the lush greenery of Sri Lanka’s central province lies the Dambulla Golden Cave Temple, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a sacred sanctuary of unparalleled beauty and historical significance. Also known as the Dambulla Cave Temple, this remarkable complex is a testament to the island’s deep-rooted Buddhist heritage and artistic brilliance.

A Place of Spiritual Splendor:

The Dambulla Golden Cave Temple is not just a single temple but a series of five cave temples, each adorned with intricate murals, sculptures, and more than 150 Buddha statues. These caves have been hallowed ground for Buddhist worship for over two millennia, making them one of the oldest preserved cave temple complexes in Sri Lanka.

Ancient Origins:

The history of Dambulla Cave Temple dates back to the 1st century BC when King Valagamba took refuge in these caves while fleeing from invaders. After his triumphant return to power, he transformed the caves into a place of worship, marking the beginning of its sacred journey.

The Interior Marvels:

Visitors are greeted with a mesmerizing array of Buddhist artistry as they step inside the caves. The paintings that adorn the cave ceilings and walls depict scenes from the life of the Buddha, stories from Jataka tales (Buddha’s previous lives), and other significant events in Buddhism. These vibrant frescoes are not only a visual feast but also offer valuable insights into the culture and religious beliefs of ancient Sri Lanka.

The Five Caves:

  1. Devaraja Lena (Cave of the Divine King): This cave houses a 14-meter-long reclining Buddha statue, flanked by statues of King Valagamba and King Nissanka Malla.
  2. Maharaja Lena (Cave of the Great Kings): The cave showcases statues of four significant kings, including King Dutugemunu, and a large seated Buddha statue.
  3. Maha Alut Vihara (Great New Monastery): This cave houses the largest collection of Buddha statues, including a massive recumbent Buddha that stretches over 14 meters.
  4. Pachima Vihara (Western Monastery): Adorned with paintings that narrate the life of the Buddha, this cave is a visual delight for art and history enthusiasts.
  5. Devana Alut Vihara (Second New Monastery): The smallest of the caves, it is nevertheless home to a serene seated Buddha statue.

Visiting Dambulla Cave Temple:

  • Location: Dambulla is located in the cultural triangle of Sri Lanka, making it accessible from cities like Kandy and Sigiriya.
  • Attire: Visitors are required to dress modestly, covering their shoulders and knees as a sign of respect.
  • Footwear: Shoes must be removed before entering the cave temples, so it’s advisable to wear easily removable footwear.

Dambulla Golden Cave Temple is not just a treasure trove of ancient art but also a spiritual sanctuary that continues to be an active place of worship. A visit to these caves is a journey through time, offering a profound connection to the rich spiritual and artistic heritage of Sri Lanka. It’s an experience that leaves an indelible mark on the hearts and minds of all who venture within its hallowed walls.

Visit our Go Tours Lanka travel blog for updated details about when to visit etc.


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