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March 13, 2017

Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

Dambulla Cave Sri LankaIt’s a bit of a climb to reach Dambulla Cave Temple, a Buddhist complex atop a monumental rock outcropping in Sri Lanka’s Cultural Triangle.

Sri Lanka toursBut the abundance of ornate wall paintings and hand-hewn rock sculptures inside this UNESCO World Heritage Site make the effort worthwhile.

Dambulla Cave Sri LankaAccording to tradition, King Valagamba (Vattagamini Abhaya) of Anuradhapura built the cave temple in the first century B.C.

Sri Lanka toursOver the years, the space under the massive rock overhang was divided into five cave temples, each elaborately decorated with art related to Buddhism and Sri Lankan history.

Sri Lanka toursToday, the Dambulla complex is the finest, best-preserved and most important of Sri Lanka’s many painted cave temples, attracting religious pilgrims from across the country.

Dambulla Cave Sri LankaInside the first cave is a 45-foot-long reclining Buddha carved from the rock. The feet have particularly fine images of floral designs flecked with bits of gold leaf.

Dambulla Cave Sri LankaThe second cave is the largest and most richly adorned, with dozens of rock sculptures of Buddhas, bodhisattvas and Sri Lankan kings. Vibrant paintings cover the walls and sloping ceiling of the cave with illustrations about the life and teachings of Buddha.

Sri Lanka toursOther images include checkerboard patterns and Buddhist symbols such as lotuses. Painted fish decorate a crack in the ceiling that drips water collected for ceremonial use.

Sri Lanka toursPrimarily decorated in the 18th century, the third cave has Buddha sculptures and Kandyan-style murals. The fourth and fifth caves are smaller and have additional religious images.

Sri Lanka toursIn addition to the caves, the rock outcropping offers great views of the surrounding countryside to the fortress of Sigiriya and beyond.

Sri Lanka toursDambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Temple, is included on many Artisans of Leisure private tours of Sri Lanka.

Sri Lanka toursContact a Sri Lanka specialist to start planning.

Dambulla Cave Sri Lanka

Destinations:  Asia, Sri Lanka

Tags:  art, Asia, Buddhism, Buddhist, Dambulla Cave, paintings, religious, sculptures, Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka tours, temple, UNESCO