A rainy day gives fewer guests
Photo,  Sri Lanka

Dambula Cave Temple

There is something special large structures and sculptures, especially when they are created in times before mechanized aids were applied. It’s simply amazing that cultures before ours also were capable of creating massive installations. The 5 temple caves in Dambulla is no exception from, even though the caves them selves were created by nature, the murals and all the statues were man made.

Entrance to the caves is places ~160 meters above the surrounding area, where the parking lot and ticket boot is located. Going up on a stone and concrete stairs, mostly it’s with even steps. But some steps are not well maintained and can be slippery when raining. A good thing is you can keep your shoes on while walking up the stairs.

When reaching the top you have to take your shoes off and hand them in at the boot. A manned stall where you hand them in – no token given – and after the visit you need to explain what pair is yours and pay 500 Rupees for the service.

View from entrance

The view from the top of the stairs can be magnificent, but a little limited impression during rain

lying Buddha

The first cave is small and only holds a few statues, among them a lying Buddha

selection of statues in one of the bigger caves
The statues are sized to exactly fit the cave height
Ceilings are decorated with images of both Buddha and donating kings
Different colors for different caves
Lying Buddha

Sometimes you see the lying Buddha described as a sleeping Buddha. But he’s not sleeping, his has reached Nirvana, meaning he is actually dead.

The look identical but on closer investigation it shows that there are small differences
The largest cave is under conservatory maintenance
The caves is still used as an active temple so services are performed. This includes ceremonial drumming

In January 2024 the price for entry was 2,000 Rupees.

I visited a day with constant rain, as a lottery sales man said “It’s bad for business” because fewer people visits the caves, which as a visitor can be a benefit as you don’t have to queue so much to see the caves.

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