Dambulla cave temple, a UNESCO heritage site, is located 72 Kilometers north of Kandy, in Matale district, in the central province of the country. It is one of the best-preserved cave temple complexes in Sri Lanka, located at an altitude of around 1100 feet, surrounded by the flatlands giving a spectacular view. As documented, there are at least 80 caves in the surrounding area that contain the statues and paintings of the Gautama Budhha. Approximately 2700 years old skeletons found in this area suggest that before the arrival of Buddhism, pre-historic Srilankans may have lived in these cave complexes. There are burial sites of these skeletons at Ibbankatuwa near the cave.
Dambulla cave temple was made in the first century BCE and had five caves under a vast overhanging rock. The interiors of the caves are filled with elegant patterns and images of the Lord Budhha, Bodhisattva, and different gods and goddesses.
The five caves have a total of 153 Budhha statues. The first cave is named the “Cave of the divine King’’, having a covered area of 14 meters by a statue of the Lord Budhha.
‘’Cave of the Great King” is the largest of the caves having 40 seated and 16 standing statues of the Lord Budhha. In addition to these, there are also statues of gods Vishnu, Saman, and the figures of King Vattagamani Abhaya and King Nissannka Malla.
The third cave, the‘’ Great New Monastery” also known as ‘’Alut Vihara’’, is decorated with traditional Kandyan-style paintings and ceilings and has 50 Budhha statues along with the statue of the king.
This UNESCO heritage, Dambulla cave temple is famous for a copper water pot that never overflows despite a never-ending water supply. The water drips into the copper pot through a crack in the cave ceiling drop by drop. Even though this dripping never stops, the copper pot never overflows.
The visitors have a lot to see and experience in these ancient caves. The visitors must dress appropriately as the area of the Dambulla cave temple is a religious sanctuary.
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