Hello! Our independent trip to Sri Lanka continues. Exploring the sights of the Cultural Triangle, we arrived in a small town Dambulla (Dambulla), famous throughout the country for being a cave complex and a golden temple. This is a rocky temple, at the entrance of which there is a huge Buddha statue, and other ancient statues of the Enlightened One are stored in the caves themselves. I wanted to see him for a long time, and finally I managed to do it. This place was blessed by one of the kings of Anuradhapura in gratitude for the 14-year-old shelter. Now Dambulla has become a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists from around the world. What is the golden or cave temples of Dambulla, what is interesting about this place, how to get there and inspect I will tell in this article.
Dambulla(Dambulla) - This is not a very big city in the central province of Matale of Sri Lanka, known since ancient times. Tourists come here exclusively for the Golden Temple and caves hollowed out in the rock (cave temple of the 1st century BC), where a large number of Buddha statues are collected. This property is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
How to get there
Dambulla, like Istanbul, stands at the crossroads of many roads. Therefore, getting to Dambulla from Anuradhapura, Kandy or Polonnaruwa is as simple as possible:
- By bus: the bus stop is located at the clock tower, it is 1.5 from the cave temple. The bus goes from Polonnaruwa, Anuradhapura and Kandy to Dambula. Travel time is 2 hours, and a ticket costs 50 rupees. You can get from Sigiriya in just 40 minutes, paying only 20 rupees for the fare. The capital of Colombo and Dambulla is 148 km away, it is 4 hours by bus, and the fare is 100-200 rupees.
- By train: The railway station is called Habarana and is located 23 km from Dambulla. In this direction there are trains from Colombo, Trincomalee and Batticaloa. From the station to the city you can easily get on the local bus or tuk-tuk.
- By car: The most convenient way to travel along the Cultural Triangle is by renting a car or with a guide-driver. Such a trip costs $ 150-200 for 3 days. Parking at the temple - 50 rupees.
We traveled through this part of Sri Lanka just by car with a driver, and I can definitely say that it was very convenient and profitable in terms of money and time.
Dambulla on the map
I found out that Dambull is very popular ecotourismand some of the hotels themselves are attractions. For example, one of these hotels called Heritance kandalama , standing on a cliffside at the edge of the forest, is literally made of everything natural. Here you can live in harmony with the environment, and a walk from the room at the reception resembles a jungle road. To live in such a hotel is to acquire a unique experience.
Hotel room Heritance Kandalama
Other hotels are designed for luxury housing and occupy a vast territory, all the houses there are individual. We can say that this is an eco-life without interruption from the usual comfort, which is usually appreciated by wealthy travelers. I can recommend this best-rated exclusive hotel near Dambulla - Amaya Lake Kandalama >>.
We recommend good hotels in Dambull (all links are clickable):
- The green edge - rating 9.3
- Sevonrich Holiday Resort - rating 9.1
- Dambulla rock arch - rating 9.5
The best cheap hotels in Dambulla:
- Sanemro villa - rating 9.3
- Pawana rest - rating 9.1
- Dignity villa - rating 9.4
All hotels in Dambulla see here →
Sights of Dambulla
When we arrived in Dambulla, I thought that the cave complex was the only thing to see in the city. However, it turned out that this is not so.
It turns out that not far from Dambulla is the only arboretum in the arid zone of Sri Lanka. Unfortunately, most of the forest in the territory where the Cultural Triangle is located has been cut down. However, now unique plants of this zone are being restored.
Nevertheless, we, like almost everyone else, came here for the sake of the Cave Temple. The driver dropped us off right at the entrance, and we decided to first look around.
Golden Temple of Dambulla (Dambulla Rajamaha Viharaya) was built in 2000. It is represented by a 30-meter statue of Buddha, typical sculptures for a Buddhist sanctuary - meditating monks, elephants and so on.
- Nearby is a museum. Entrance to the museum is paid separately - 100 rupees. It works from 7.30 to 17.30
- Not far away is a gilded stupa. I liked it very much: the stupa, although small, shines brightly in the sun. And inside the temples are also Buddha statues!
Elephants at the entrance to the Golden Temple
Dambulla Cave Temple
It is necessary to rise to the caves (100-150 meters). The climb is not as difficult as to Sigiriya, but with strong sun you can quickly get tired. In addition, care must be taken in dealing with monkeys. Time to rise - 10 minutes.
- Ticket price uphill for foreigners is 1,500 rupees. And you can buy tickets only below. Ticket offices are located in an inconspicuous place to the right of the Golden Temple.
- Working hours: 7.30 - 18.00. Lunch break: 12.30 - 13.00
Important! In the caves you can only walk barefoot. Shoes should be deposited in a specially designated place before entering the cave temple. The cost of storing shoes is 25 rupees. You also need to be well-dressed - knees and shoulders must be covered.
Tip. Do not forget to scare away the monkeys, otherwise sweets and fruits bought along the way will be held captive! Monkeys are persistent creatures!
There are five caves in the complex, and in each you will see various Buddha images. There are so many of them that the eyes really run wide. If you are not interested in Buddhism, then the place may seem boring. But the residents of Sri Lanka consider it their duty to visit the Golden Mountain.
The first cave is named after the god Vishnu, under whose auspices the temple was erected. Here you can see seven Buddha statues of the first century BC, the largest of which is 14 meters. Near the temple is a small chapel of the god Vishnu, which can also be seen.
The second cave is the largest. Along the walls, decorated with unique frescoes from the life of the deity and the history of the country, there are statues of Buddha and gods made of granite, wood and brick. In addition, there is a dagoba in the cave - a monumental structure for storing relics, which is surrounded by 11 statues of a meditating Buddha. At the entrance is an arch in the form of a mythical dragon, under which is a life-size Buddha statue. To the left of the statue you can see the sculpture of the god Maitreya, the only bodhisattva that is worshiped by all schools of Buddhism.
The third cave was built relatively recently compared to the rest. In the 18th century temple there are 56 Buddha statues, on the ceiling are more than a thousand of his images, each statue being unique in its own way. The exits from the cave are presented in the form of arches decorated with dragons.
The fourth cave is very small, was built in the first century BC. In the center of it you can see another dragob, in which there were previously jewels of the king’s wife.
The fifth cave stores 11 statues of Buddha and several statues of the Gods.
Interesting places Dambulla
The site contains the sights of Dambulla - photos, descriptions and travel tips. The list is based on popular guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you will find answers to questions: what to see in Dambulla, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places of Dambulla.
Yala National Park
The oldest natural park in Sri Lanka Yala has a second name - Ruhuna. The kingdom of Ruhun was once located here, the ruins of the ancient cities of which are found here and there among the savannahs and forests. In 1900, a wildlife reserve was created on this territory, which in 1938 received the status of a national park. It is the second largest in the country and, perhaps, the most visited.
Yala is located in the lowlands of Sri Lanka, its base is a dry savannah with sparse shrubs and trees with characteristic crowns. The park is famous for wild leopards: there are more than 30 individuals living here.
The basis of the park is a flat, dry savannah, overgrown with shrubs and umbrella trees, where small green oases around lakes, hills and even small mountain systems are often found. Nowhere else in the world can you meet so many leopards in such a limited territory!
Among the other animals that inhabit the park, you can name, of course, elephants, bears, deer, wild boars, monkeys - there are 44 species of mammals. As well as several species of turtles, reptiles and many species of birds, insects and fish. Many of them are found only in Sri Lanka.
Tourists travel around the park in traditional jeeps, but hiking with a guide is also possible. For lovers of naturalists, there is the opportunity to stay in a campground, which, in turn, provides a rare opportunity to be alone with wildlife.
Udawalawe National Park
Udavalave is a beautiful savannah. It was declared a national park in 1972.
The park is unusual and very picturesque. The savannah (and here there are several species: grassy, bush, flooded with water, passing into the forest) is penetrated by a network of roads along which jeep safaris are conducted, accompanied by a guide.
The main attraction of the park is wild animals and birds, which can be observed here in their natural habitat. But the park is known to the whole world, perhaps, for herds of elephants. Here, almost without interference, you can observe all their life manifestations - for example, games and swimming. There are about 500 elephants in the park and there are herds uniting up to 50 animals.
In addition to elephants, you can see deer, wild boars, buffaloes, leopards (if you're lucky) and countless flocks of birds.
In addition to animals, there are also botanical rarities. For example, in Udavalava there are species that are not found in other national parks of Sri Lanka.
In photo mode, you can view the sights in Dambull only from photographs.
Batik Factory in Matala
Batik is a national Sri Lankan craft. This is a painstaking, even debilitating art, the result of which is incredible fabrics: you want to buy all of them immediately.
There are many factories making batik in the country. One of them - in the town of Matale - gives you the opportunity to see firsthand how much work is behind variegated materials and find out how, in fact, batik is done.
Painstaking hand-painted fabric consists of several stages. The key points are waxing on a part of the pattern and consistent dyeing of the fabric. As a result of skillful manipulations, a fabric with a unique pattern is obtained.
Everything you like here, of course, you can buy.
The Horton Plateau spreads over three thousand hectares of land. Having visited this amazing place, you will be able to take a fresh look at the whole variety of flora and fauna of the amazing country of Sri Lanka. The higher you go, the more you will see. If the lower part of the plateau is covered with swamps and narrow streams, then with further advancement, grassy wastelands and trees will open before your gaze. In total, 75% of the species diversity of Sri Lanka trees is represented on the Horton plateau.
The plateau is named after the former governor of Sri Lanka, Robert Horton. The main reason for admiration is the "prehistoric" forest, filled with tree ferns that have been growing here for millions of years. Among the animals on the plateau you can see deer, roe deer, jackals and even leopards.
On the shores of the Indian Ocean, an hour from the city of Colombo is a cozy village of Kosgoda. This place is very popular among tourists due to sea turtles. Each year, gigantic reptiles travel a crazy distance from the African coast to the village of Kosgoda to lay eggs here.
The village of Kosgoda can offer its guests a picturesque beach and amazing natural beauty. People come here for the sake of a calm and relaxing holiday in order to forget the city bustle and everyday worries. This is facilitated by luxury hotels and quiet streets.
Kosgoda also has its own attractions. Particular attention should be paid to ancient Buddhist temples.
In the south-west of Sri Lanka lies the modest town of Galle. Its history goes back several millennia - even before our era, Arab merchants visited Halle during a trip to China. Halle even found his reflection in the Bible, which states that King Solomon exported Sri Lankan gems and ivory from here.
The first Europeans to visit Halle were the Portuguese. Having built here a small fortress of Santa Cruz Fortales, the Portuguese held power over Halle for a century, but subsequently ceded it to the Dutch. They turned the fortress into a fort, which has survived to this day and today is the main local attraction.
The terrible tsunami in 2004 almost buried Halle at the bottom of the ocean, killing thousands of people. Today the city is completely restored.
The village of Weligama (aka Sand Village) is located thirty kilometers from the capital of the southern province of Sri Lanka - the city of Galle. This place has long acquired a cult status among surfers, due to the presence of ideal waves near the beach strip of Weligama. The water here is crystal clear, and many beautiful cliffs create special picturesqueness.
The inhabitants of Weligama are fishing, which gives great advantages to all lovers of marine delicacies. In the local markets, the freshest fish is always on sale at modest prices (it is recommended to visit the markets in the evening when the fishermen return with their prey).
Among the local attractions there are many Buddhist pagodas, Catholic cathedrals and even a three-meter figure of the God of Death.
The most popular attractions in Dambulla with descriptions and photographs for every taste. Choose the best places to visit the famous places of Dambulla on our website.