Dambulla Royal Cave Temple – Dambulla, Sri Lanka - Atlas Obscura

Dambulla Royal Cave Temple

Dambulla, Sri Lanka

This ancient cave temple complex is the largest and best-preserved temple complex in Sri Lanka.  

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Through the golden mouth of a lion-like creature and a short hike up a hill are five gorgeous caves that are home to some of the most magnificent temples in Sri Lanka. The caves contain larger-than-life statues and elaborate, vibrant paintings of Buddha.  

Visitors can wander through colonial style outdoor hallways that connect the caves with man-made lily ponds. For more than two millennia, this has been a Buddhist pilgrimage site. The site dates as far back as the first century BC  and is still home to Buddhist monks who manage the property. 

Know Before You Go

The hike is moderate, incorporating some rock stairs and takes about 20 minutes. Beware of monkeys that fight along the path. There is also a museum.

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