Here’s the guide to the Dambulla Cave Temple, the Center-North region of the country. A true hidden wonder of Sri Lanka that you can easily visit free of charge next time you’re in Dambulla.
Dambulla Cave temple complex is known as the one of it is totally adorned with paintings and sculptures of Kandyan Era. Also, it was recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage in 1991. It is said that these caves were built by King Walagamba during the first century BC. The new temple is built at the foot of the pathway to the cave temple.
Dambulla has one of the best collections of Sri Lankan sculptures of 158 Buddha images. The materials used for the sculpture were wood, bricks, clay, terracotta and even live rock and cotton netting.
Inside 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.
The second cave is the largest and most richly adorned, with dozens of rock sculptures of Buddha’s, bodhisattvas and Sri Lankan kings. Also, vibrant paintings cover the walls and sloping ceiling of the cave with illustrations about the life and teachings of Buddha.
Other 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.
Primarily 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. Other than Buddha statues, few local deities also worshiped here.
All the paintings and sculptures are related to Buddhism and Sri Lankan history. So most of the paintings are containing traditional Sri Lankan arts.
Once you are done with visiting the caves, you can explore the view of lakes from there. You can see Kandalama Lake from the far away from the city among green forests.