The temple consists of 5 separate caves that are hewn from a big rock. The caves were originally used as hiding places. Later on in history they were embellished more and more by several kings. On the inside, the caves are decorated with religious and secular paintings from the 15th and 16th century.
The temple was added to Unesco's World Heritage List in 1991.
The entrance fee is 500 Rupees.
The uniqueness to this temple is that it possesses the foremost Buddha Statue of the World designed in the pose of Dhamma Chakka. The construction work of this magnificent statue was started in 1998 and made it completed by the year 2001. Just below the golden statue and environmental landscaping displays, a modern museum displays recent history of Sri Lankan buddhist culture.
When we were there, they were building the new entrance to the Caves. Not sure its my taste, but I am sure others will love it! The 30 meter high Buddha claims to be the highest of its kind in the world
There were just some steps alongside the new entrance to climb up to reach the temple when we visited.
The views from the front of the Dambulla Cave Temples are wonderful. Sweeping over the valley below towards other hilly area.
Sigiryia is only 22 km away and on a clear day it is possible to see the Rock Fortress
Dambulla Rock Temple is within the Cultural Triangle, which is in the middle of Sri Lanka. It is a lovely area, lots of countryside.
When we were there we were told we could not take photos inside the Temples, so I only have postcards of the inside, The are probably better photos than I could have taken anyway, but have sadly not scanned well.
I believe you are now allowed to take photos as long as you do not photograph people
Unless things have changed since the opening of the new entrance, the only way to get up to the Temple Caves is up a mixure of steps cut in to the rock & just rock where it is less steep.
Getting up is easy enough, & I guess getting down is too, if you are not clumsy like me!.
I had a tumble on my way back down, tore up the skin on my knee impressively, by the time we reached the bottom the lower half of my leg was semi covered with blood.
The temple security came rushing over, thinking I had been attacked & I took some pursuading to get them to believe I have just fallen down!
You will see monkeys all over Sri Lanka, These monkeys were around the Temples of Dambulla, They were much friendler than the awful Apes on the Rock of Gibraltar .!
The temples are more than 100 meters above the road and contains hundreds of buddha statues.
As with most cultural and religious sites in Sri Lanka: no shoes, hats, shorts, or uncovered shoulders . . . and especially no posing for photos with the buddhas. Devout Buddhists do not turn their back on a statue of Buddha. Posing for a photo (with your back turned) is particularly rude.
Even in low light situations, I try not to take photos with flash of art or historic objects - its bad for them. This was taken by resting the camera on a bench - no flash.
Entry to the cave temples is not included in a Cultural Triangle ticket and costs Rs. 500 per person. There is a museum, restaurant, bookstore and internet cafe at the near the parking lot.
It's an incredible place. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 sq. m) of scenes from the Buddha's life and Sinhalese history are of particular importance, as are the more than 150 buddhist and hindu statues.
The history of the caves themselves dates back to the 2nd or 1st century B.C., when King Valagam Bahu who was escaping the invading army that drove him out of Anuradhapura, took refuge in these caves.
Dambulla's cave temple was designated by UNESCO a World Heritage site in 1991.
Access is along the gentle slope of the Dambulla Rock (15 min. of climbing), offering a panoramic view of the surrounding flat lands, which includes the rock fortress Sigiriya, 19kms away. The shorts are not permited!
Entry ticket costs 500 Rps.
Cave 4 houses 10 images of the Buddha and two dagobas. There is also a huge bo-tree outside the vihara.
Cave 2 is a larger one and joined with Cave 3, which contains over 55 statues of the Buddha, an image of the future Buddha (Maitreya Buddha) and a dagoba in the middle of the shrine.
Cave 1 contains a huge statue of the Buddha in a recumbent posture on a pillow with the right hand.
The Golden Temple is the monastery for the cave dwelling monks and is situated east of the rock temple. Above the temple is a 100 feet high Golden Buddha Statue, this was unveiled in 2001.
Towards the end of our visit at Dambulla, some local people started to arrive, until then we had been lucky enough to pretty much have the place to ourselves
The five Temple Caves at Dambulla are linked by this passageway running along the front of the rock.