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DAMBULLA

DAMBULLA

Dambulla is the largest and best-preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock towers 160 m over the surrounding plains. There are more than 80 documented caves in the surrounding area. Major attractions are spread over five caves, which contain statues and paintings. These paintings and statues are related to Gautama Buddha and his life. There is a total of 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods and goddesses. The latter include Vishnu and the Ganesha. The murals cover an area of 2,100 square meters (23,000 sq ft). Depictions on the walls of the caves include the temptation by the demon Mara, and Buddha's first sermon.

Rajamaha Temple of Rangiri Dambulla (Golden Rock Temple) Located north of Kandy and considered by most to be the centre point of Sri Lanka. Dambulla is a town built around a vast isolated rock mass and a World Heritage City, declared by UNESCO.

The name Dambulla derives from Damba - Rock and Ulla - fountain. One sees the incessant drip of water from the fountain within the main image house. This complex of caves at Dambulla is one of the most impressive Buddhist Temples in the world. It was here that King Vattagamani Abhaya (Valagamba) took refuge in the 1st century BCE. He later turned the caves into a rock temple. Later kings made further improvements, including King Nissankamalla who had the temple interior gilded, earning it the name of Ran Giri - Golden Rock.

Dambulla Viharaya contains an abundance of valuable material from the very earliest times till the late eighteenth century, and shows the evolution of the Singhalese Buddhist art. Such vast material in one place, combined with a long history, is a rare find anywhere. The temples contain 153 Buddha images, 3 images of kings and 4 images of gods and goddesses. There are also 4 main monasteries and it was within this complex that the monks began the militant nationalist movement against the British in 1848. You have to climb 364 steps to reach to cave complex.

Dambulla Caves

These 80 or more caves tell of the inhabitants dating back to the 3rd Century BCE. Five main caves hold the holy Buddhist shrines. The stupa was built in the 5th century AD and the caves contain precious paintings and innumerable Buddha sculptures. Among the paintings, two of the most magnificent depict the temptation of the Buddha by the demon Mara and the First Sermon of the Buddha.

Over 2000 years history Many beautiful frescoes and status, the mysterious large pot to collect water dripping from the top 365 days but never overflows or get dry. The caves itself are open for visitors from 7 am to 7 pm. But be aware that the ticket counter closes at 5 pm. Make sure you arrive in time to get your ticket. Once you’ve got it, it’s fine, no rush. A visit to the Cave Temple usually only takes about 1 hour! It’s not a day filling thing, as I already wrote before. The caves are in 110m height. The climb takes about 10 minutes. It’s quite steep at times, just take your time. There is no shop at the top, bring enough drinking water.

When visiting the Dambulla Cave Temple it is best to start with the last cave and work your way backward. The last two caves are the newest and least impressive. So, it becomes more impressive with every cave you visit rather than less spectacular.

With all this information about the 5 caves and the actual 2 sites Dambulla Cave Temple and the Golden Temple, many tourists think that they will need at least a half day for this sightseeing program.

No. It only takes 1 hour all together. Maybe one and a half hours, when you tend to take a photo or two more than other or when you need to rest a minute longer after the climb up. But still, that’s far away from day filling. It takes longer reading all about the five caves in your guidebook than actually seeing them.

The best time to visit the Cave Temple depends on the weather – what a surprise! But generally, I suggest going just before sunset. It’s less busy, as most foreigners come in the morning (after 8 am) or during the day. And even better: It’s the best spot for sunset viewing in Dambulla. As seeing the five caves takes about an hour, so plan to be at the Golden Temple complex 1.5 hours before sunset. Another good time for visiting would be just in the early hours of the day. It opens at 7 am, so being at the top of the hill, i.e. at the entrance of the Cave Temple at 7 am is a really quiet and peaceful experience.

Proper attire is a must. No hats, shoes Sleeveless tops and shorts, allowed inside the caves or any temples in Sri Lanka. Bring the temporary cloths for cover-up. Better to have a sock with you with piece of cloth or tissue.

Remember not to wear a Buddha tee or shirt to Sri Lanka please! It appears to be disrespectful.

Photo Gallery of Dambulla Cave Temple - Click Here

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    "Dear Cyril, We just got back to Singapore today...I am will be back to work tomorrow.. :) Sad but true ha ha……. We were very lucky to have you as our guide. I don’t think there will be anyone else who could have done an excellent job that you have done. We will spread the word around and will surely sell your services...do keep in touch so we can work something out. Thanks for the photos they are great Will visit your website soon and put in some good words for you.. Ti..." Shuhanth Haridas from Singapore

    "We are an older couple celebrating a lot of years of marriage (and hiking) in Sri Lanka in February this year, for two weeks, and three days in the Maldives. Although we love to drive, we chose to go with a driver-guide, after planning the trip completely independently. (It turned out he might help us in the planning and selection of hotels, we own). The main advantage is reaching the sites, some of which are tired, refreshed after someone else used to bad roads, with bad signage - If you are i..." Sam

    "We found Cyril on-line and after checking with lots of other guides we decided he is the one for us, that decision was the best one we did for our trip From the beginning, in our emails, Cyril listen to us and was very helpful, he gave us information and helped us to create the best trip for us.We had 10 days trip, for our honeymoon, to many parts of Sri-Lanka. the country is amazing, green, nice people and good food.Cyril was a great driver and even greater guide, he has so much knowledge and e..." Coral and Oded from Israel

    "Dear Cyril, We want to thank you so much for making our trip so unforgetable and delightful. We received your name from our friends lives in Geneva who travelled with you in January 2009 and they gave you such a high recommendation that we decided to conbtact you for our two weeks trip this year. Although we have been to Sri Lanka a few times already. We have never found such an excellent driver and guide. It has been a great pleasure to visit Colombo with you and then to Koggala for two day tr..." Mr.Gabor Kato & Mrs.Ann Kato

    "Dear Cyril, Thank you for truly amazing oneweek tour your beautiful country.We have seen so many amazing sites in such a short space of time. From Sigiriya to beautiful temples, Scenic tea gardens of Nuwaraeliya the colonial land ark hotel Mount Lavinia. We have seen so much more. You have made this an utterly memorable holiday with your expert knowledge, amazing, facinating stories, patience, careful+safe drivingand your unforgetable smile. We will cetainly recommonding your tours to all of fr..." Sara Kitson - UK

    "We are glad to meet Cyril. He is very kind and patient, very professional in his work. He have lot of knowledge about history of the places and the things that happened in Sri Lanka. He knows all the roads and places very well. Very friendly and stand on time. The tour he recommended us and places were excellent. He replied immediately for mails which we send. He was flexible when we asked him to stop in different places and to change our program. He speaks very good English and explanations..." Ruty Ben Haim from Isarel

    "  Dear Cyril We spent a wonderful week with you. We were so pleased to have to visited your beautiful country and we will recommend you for all of our relatives and to friends. It has been a pleasure to spend these days with you, we will never forget nice smile on your face all the time. Thank you and if one day you would like to visit Switzerland we will be raedy take you around snowy mountans! All the best, Franz family" Dr. David franz from Swiss

    "Cyril Tours is a very good agency. Because we did use it from 01st of March to 14 March 2013. From the start till end of our emails, he has (Mr.Cyril) given all required details. Also he send us very detailed itinerary with pictures. Actually no need guide after go through it.Cyril Tours is not a big agency. He was a guide in Sri Lanka more than 26 years. Many clients recommend him to their friends and to relatives who want to visit Sri Lanka.They asked from him to travel, that is why he be..." John and Mary from Canada

    "Thank you so much for your great service and making our honeymoon in Sri Lanka, so special and joyful. Best regards from Yuffa and Elad Abbo – Israel- 10 July 2008 " Yuffa and Elad Abbo - Israel

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