Ancient Buddha images in Dambulla cave temple, Sri Lanka.
Seemingly wedged beneath a cliff, you’ll find this sacred pilgrimage site that dates back to the 1st century BC. This impressive cave monastery has been an important pilgrimage site for 22 centuries and UNESCO have called it “the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka” – high praise indeed! Inside you’ll find Buddhist mural paintings which cover an area over 2000m2, as well as 157 statues to boot.
The complex was once used as refuge by an ancient king who, on regaining his throne, commissioned magnificent carved images within the living rock. Subsequent kings made further improvements and with each new king came more developments and more illustrated stories depicting prominent occasions of days long gone. If you’d like to learn more you can take a headset with a private guide where you can learn about the history in many different languages.
You can walk further up if you feel like more adventure. From here you’ll enjoy wonderful views and you can purchase a moon stone necklace to take home with you as a reminder of your epic Sri Lankan adventure. Opt for an early morning or evening tour, as the temperatures will be cooler and the experience more pleasant. The walk can take up to two hours.
Visit this iconic Sri Lankan rock cave and Buddha filled interior
A 1st century BC UNESCO World Heritage Site