The ceiling of this cavern is fully illustrated with paintings. Among the cave’s numerous statues are the earliest devala statues to appear in a Buddhist image house.
The Cave Temples
These are man-made granite outcrops which rise 160m above ground offering splendid views across the surrounding countryside. It is believed that these caves were inhabited in prehistoric times and later on they served as shelter and Buddhist shrine by king Vattagamani Abhaya (1st century BC) who lost his throne at Anuradhapura and hide himself here.
Before climbing up the stairs to the caves, stands the undoubtly kitsch Golden Temple. This new building is topped by a huge seated golden Buddha. Though it claims it is the largest Buddha statue in the world, this is not true.
Dambulla Rock Temple is within the Cultural Triangle, which is in the middle of Sri Lanka. It is a lovely area, lots of countryside.
Golden Cave Temple
It's an incredible place. A sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries, this cave monastery, with its five sanctuaries, is the largest, best-preserved cave-temple complex in Sri Lanka. The mural paintings (covering an area of 2,100 sq. m) of scenes from the Buddha's life and Sinhalese history are of particular importance, as are the more than 150 buddhist and hindu statues.
The history of the caves themselves dates back to the 2nd or 1st century B.C., when King Valagam Bahu who was escaping the invading army that drove him out of Anuradhapura, took refuge in these caves.