At a glance

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.

Hidden Gems

  • 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.

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.

The Route

Best Times to Visit

Dambulla is a year-round destination