Sri Lanka: Golden Temple of Dambulla

By Cubie - November 01, 2016

In a very, very simple summary, early kingdoms in Sri Lanka started with Anuradhapura as capital (377BC - 1017), then it was moved to Polonnaruwa in 1056-1232, followed by Kandy in 1594-1815.

The Dambulla Rock Temple was first constructed during the reign of King Vattagamini Abhaya (Anuradhapura Kingdom). During an invasion from the South Indian, the king had to fled from his Anuradhapura Kingdom and hid in these caves for safety for 12 years. After regaining his kingdom, King Vattagamini Abhaya coverted the caves into Buddhist Temples to show his gratitude.

We left Sigiriya and went straight to Dambulla before lunch. We wanted to have lunch first but it was still a little early so we decided to only eat after, we had an ice coffee break though.

This is not the entrance to the caves

Here's the beginning of the steps going up to the caves.

Along the way, there were many monkeys but they pretty much left humans alone, unlike the ones in Bali where you would need to guard your possession like a hawk.

The entrance to the caves are quite unassuming, all you will see from the outside is a low white building and a Bodhi tree.

Apparently there are more than 80 caves in the surrounding areas but there are 5 caves open to public. According to Rough Guide book on Sri Lanka (that was what my friend has), it is recommended to start from the 5th cave (the one furthest away) as the one closest to the entrance is the most majestic. The painted cave roof are quite impressive.

One more thing, before entering the caves complex, you'll need to take off your shoes and stored for a fee (LRK 25 / ~AUD 0.30 / ~USD 0.20). I wanted to keep my socks clean, so I took off my socks too, not the brightest idea as it proved to be a little hot to walk properly and not running when the sun is at it's prime.

We did not pay entrance fee to Dambulla as there was no ticketing booth noted at all. We tried to look it for because we didn't want to trek all the way up (it is quite a bit of a walk up) and having to walk back down to get a ticket if we missed it. We walked up all the way and someone sitting at a table before entering the cave complex reminded me to take off my cap but did not ask for ticket check. As we did not pay for an entrance fee, we put in a donation.

By the way, the view up there is pretty good too :)

Side note: I am missing nasi lemak too!

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  1. I didn't realize Sri Lanka is THIS impressive! Both Dambulla and the Lion Rock. Looks like you had a great time!

  2. It is quite different from what I initially imagined, in a good way though :)