Surrounded by hills, lakes, and valleys, Dambulla, with its towering golden Buddha statue, perfectly combines spiritual and natural charm. Home to millennia-old cave temples, this agricultural town is shrouded in history. This giant rocky outcrop served as a refuge for King Valagamba in his 14-year exile from the Anuradhapura kingdom. Dambulla temple cave complex, which dates back to the 1st century BC, is the largest and the best-preserved in Sri Lanka. The caves themselves were lived-in by Buddhist monks since the 3rd century BC. Archaeological evidence suggests a prehistoric civilization in the area 2700 years old. This UNESCO World Heritage Site neighbours the famous Sigiriya Rock Fortress.
- Dambulla Economic Centre is the largest farmer’s market in Sri Lanka.
- Pidurangala Rock offers views of Sigiriya and consists of a 5th century monastery.
- Menikdena Archeological Reserve and Arboretum has ruins of an old monastic complex.
- Ederagala Wana Senasuna is a smaller less-known cave temple with a stupa on a rock.
Best Times to Visit
Dambulla is a year-round destination.
Dambulla Cave Temple
The five sanctuaries of the cave temple contain 157 statues and intricate paintings and murals belonging to different periods. Climb to the top of the rock for sweeping views.
Dambulla International Cricket Stadium
This one is for the cricket fanatics. This 30,000 seat stadium sprawls across 60 acres near Dambulla Reservoir. It is the only dry zone international cricket ground in Sri Lanka.
The Rose Quartz Mountain
Jathika Namal Uyana Nature Reserve has South Asia’s largest rose quartz mountain and consists of Sri Lanka’s largest ironwood forest. The park also features ancient ruins.
Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs
The less-known Iron Age remains date back to 700-400 BC. The burial site contains terra-cotta urns and cists and precious items which were enclosed by stone slabs.
This pond was known to have had dark water in ancient times. It is in a biodiversity-rich forest which has remains of a monastery and a high density of langurs and macaques.
It is Sri Lanka’s only dry zone arboretum and is a creation by Sam Popham, an Englishman. There are walking trails, streams, wooden bridges, and exciting wildlife.
Where to Shop in Dambulla
Dambulla is a great place to buy fresh fruit and veggies, but you are not going to find swanky spots to do other shopping.
Where to Eat in Dambulla
Amaya Lake, Jetwing Lake, and Heritance Kandalama have in-hotel high-end dining options, while the Orchid, Rithu, Sakura, Caf – Kanchan, Mango Mango, Athula, and Tree House at Kalundewa Retreat serve up delicious food.
Explore where you enjoy a comfortable stay during your explorations.