Neda Mcgrath

Neda Mcgrath

Published: 14 Sep 2023


The Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, is one of Sri Lanka’s most treasured and ancient landmarks. Nestled atop a towering rock formation, this remarkable cave temple complex is renowned for its stunning architecture, rich history, and religious significance. With its origins dating back over 2,000 years, the Dambulla Cave Temple is not only a UNESCO World Heritage Site but also a popular destination for both locals and tourists alike.

But beyond its well-known status, the Dambulla Cave Temple holds some surprising and intriguing facts that many may not be aware of.

Table of Contents

The Oldest Cave Temple in Sri Lanka

Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, is not just any ordinary temple – it holds the title of being the oldest cave temple in Sri Lanka. With a history dating back more than 2,000 years, it is a significant religious and cultural landmark in the country.

Five Magnificent Caves

Unlike traditional temples, Dambulla Cave Temple is comprised of five stunning caves that are filled with intricate paintings, statues, and religious artifacts. Each cave has its own unique design and significance, making the temple a treasure trove of ancient art and architecture.

A UNESCO World Heritage Site

In recognition of its historical and cultural importance, Dambulla Cave Temple was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in It is revered not only for its religious significance but also for its outstanding universal value that represents the rich heritage of Sri Lanka.

Over 150 Buddha Statues

One of the most mesmerizing aspects of Dambulla Cave Temple is the vast collection of Buddha statues it houses. With more than 150 exquisite statues, ranging from small to life-sized, visitors can witness the evolution of Buddhist art over the centuries.

Stunning Ceiling Paintings

The cave walls and ceilings of Dambulla Cave Temple are adorned with vibrant and detailed paintings depicting significant events from the life of Lord Buddha. These ancient frescoes, dating back to the 2nd century BC, are not only breathtaking but also provide invaluable insights into the history and culture of Sri Lanka.

The Largest Cave Rock Image in the World

Within Dambulla Cave Temple, visitors will find the largest cave rock image in the world – a colossal 14-meter long reclining Buddha statue. Carved out of the solid rock, this majestic statue is a testament to the remarkable craftsmanship of the ancient Sri Lankan artisans.

A Pilgrimage Site for Centuries

Dambulla Cave Temple has served as a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists for centuries. It continues to attract devotees from all over the world who come to pay their respects, meditate, and seek blessings in this sacred location.

An Ancient Buddhist University

During its early history, Dambulla Cave Temple also functioned as a Buddhist educational institution, where monks studied and imparted knowledge. Some of the caves still have remnants of meditation platforms and stone inscriptions, reflecting its past as a center of learning.

A Hidden Sanctuary during Wars

Throughout history, Dambulla Cave Temple served as a refuge and hiding place during times of war and political unrest. Its location high above the surrounding landscape provided a safe haven for monks and civilians seeking shelter from conflict.

A Symbol of Resilience and Preservation

Despite facing natural disasters and invasions over the centuries, Dambulla Cave Temple has stood strong as a symbol of resilience and preservation. It serves as a reminder of the rich cultural heritage of Sri Lanka and the enduring power of faith and spirituality.


In conclusion, the Dambulla Cave Temple, also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, is a remarkable landmark that is steeped in history and spirituality. Its stunning rock-cut cave temples, adorned with intricate Buddhist statues and vibrant murals, are truly awe-inspiring. The temple complex not only attracts religious devotees but also history buffs and nature lovers alike.

Visiting the Dambulla Cave Temple offers a unique opportunity to delve into Sri Lanka’s rich cultural heritage and experience the serenity of its sacred spaces. The temple’s location amidst lush greenery provides a tranquil setting, further adding to its allure.

Whether you are exploring its hidden chambers adorned with ancient art or marvelling at the panoramic views from its hilltop perch, the Dambulla Cave Temple is a must-visit destination that will leave a lasting impression.


1. What is the significance of the Dambulla Cave Temple?

The Dambulla Cave Temple holds great religious importance as one of the most iconic Buddhist sites in Sri Lanka. It is renowned for its historical and cultural significance, serving as a place of worship and pilgrimage for over 2,000 years.

2. How many caves are there in the Dambulla Cave Temple?

The temple complex consists of five main caves, each housing stunning statues and intricate murals depicting Buddhist teachings and legends. These caves are known for their religious and artistic value.

3. Are visitors allowed to photograph inside the cave temples?

Yes, photography is allowed inside the cave temples. However, it is important to be respectful of the sacredness of the site and avoid using flash photography.

4. Is there an entrance fee to visit the Dambulla Cave Temple?

Yes, there is an entrance fee for visitors to enter the Dambulla Cave Temple. The fee contributes to the maintenance and preservation of the site.

5. What is the best time to visit the Dambulla Cave Temple?

The best time to visit the Dambulla Cave Temple is early morning or late afternoon when the weather is cooler and the crowds are relatively smaller. It is also an ideal time to witness the captivating sunrise or sunset from the temple’s hilltop location.

These questions and answers should provide you with some basic information about the Dambulla Cave Temple. Remember to check with the official website or local authorities for the most up-to-date information before planning your visit.