Dambulla is a town which is located nearly 150 km away from the capital, Colombo and belongs to the Central Province of Sri Lanka. Situated at an important point where A6 & A9 highways cross each other, the town is a major stop for most of the travelers of both routes. Dambulla is a town with a great historical & religious value and holds a few unique tourist attraction spots.
The pride of Dambulla is undoubtedly the Dambulla Raja Maha Viharaya, also known as Rangiri Dambulu Viharaya, which is the largest of cave temples in Sri Lanka which survives up to today. The history of this temple runs far back to time of the Sinhalese King known as Valagamba in 1st B.C., when the caves had been inhabited by Buddhist monks who used them to meditate. When the capital city Anuradhapura had been invaded by a foreign army those days, those monks had helped the king as he sought protection and had hidden the king in the caves. He has built this temple as a gratitude for those Buddhist monks after regaining the throne by defeating the foreigners.
Dambulla Viharaya is built on the summit of a big isolated rocky hill which is about 350 feet in height and the cave has five main compartments that had been divided to different parts according to the planned design of the temple. There are paintings and statues inside these caverns that express the workmanship and the skill of the people who had lived in those times. Thos artists have taken great care when painting the ceiling of the largest cavern and had managed to do a wonderful job in making the paintings flow so well along the natural folds of the rock. Among the temple’s statues is a 14 meter long Buddha statue which is carved out of the rock.
Apart from the rock temple, Dambulla is famous for the rose quartz mountain range “Namal Uyana”, which is known to be the largest in South Asia. A prehistoric burial site has been found near Dambulla temple in an area called “Ibbankatuwa” and this is the most recent discovery made within the vicinity. Further exploring has uncovered some significant evidence which has directed the historians to form a clear idea about aboriginal people who had lived there before the Indians arrived.
In the recent times, a small island in the Dambulla Lake has been transferred into a “Pleasure Island” where you can go and enjoy from morning to eve. The place have to be reached by a boat ride and some relaxing activities are available on & around the island like fishing, swimming, bathing, tree climbing, picnicking in tree houses and a lot more. The island is completely covered in trees which makes a lovely green roof all over the place.