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Sri Lanka

Dambulla

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Travel to DambullaDambulla is best known for its wonderful cave temple complex dating back to 2nd century BC. Preserved diligently by Sri Lanka, Dambulla caves have been declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. The cave complex is a conglomeration of five caves holding magnificent statues and elegant scriptures. Famous Iron Wood Forest and Rose Quartz Mountains add to the glory of Dambulla.

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Cave Complex
Best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka has highlighted Dambulla on the world tourist map. The rock inside which the temples are carved out towers 160m over the neighboring plains. The complex holds more than 80 documented caves. This is an impressive complex of 5 cave image houses containing more than 150 Buddha and other idols. Elegantly painted walls and ceilings add to impact of the place. The cave complex has the total of 153 Buddha idols, 3 statues of Sri Lankan monarchs and 4 idols of deities. The five caves have been built at the base of a 150 m high rock. The largest cave is 23m from its entrance to back and at the highest point it is 7m tall.

First Cave
First cave is locally called Devraja Lena or 'Cave of the Divine King'. The cave has towering presence of 14-meter Buddha statue, hewn out of rock.

Second Cave
Second cave, also the largest, is called Maharaja Lena or 'Cave of the Great Kings', for it hosts largest statues of King Vattagamani and King Nissanka Mala. The former monarch honored the monastery in 1st century BC while the latter gilded 50 statues in the 12th century.

Third Cave
Third cave is Maha Alut Vihara or 'Great New Monastery'. During the rule of King Kirti Sri Rajasinha (1747-1782), the famous Buddhist revivalist, acquired Kandy style ceiling and wall paintings.

Fourth and Fifth Caves
Fourth and fifth caves are not as big in size and lack in quality.

History
Dambulla cave complex harks back to 3rd and 2nd centuries BC. Even before the making of the complex it was well established as one of the largest monasteries in Sri Lanka. Credit of converting the caves into a temple in the 1st century BC goes to King Valagambahu. Forced to flee from Capital Anuradhapura by South indian invaders, he sought refuge. After capturing his capital again, he built a temple in the site of his refuge as his gratitude. The site was added to by several kings later. In the course of several centuries, the caves became a major religious centre.

Dambulla TravelBird Watching
Dambulla is also known for bird watching. It hosts Iron Wood Forest and Rose Quartz Mountain.

Forest and the Mountain
Iron Wood Forest (Namal Uyana) and Rose Quarts Mountain are other attractions of Dambulla. Iron Wood Forest is considered the oldest garden in Sri Lanka. King Dappula declared the site a human sanctuary in 10th century AD. Hundreds of variety of plants were planted here. Rose Quartz mountain range, more than 500 million years old, are geologically important. The site has quartz deposits of white, rose and violet color.

Distance From Various Places

Colombo 148 Km
Kandy 72 Km
Anuradhapura 66 Km
Sigiriya 12 Km



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