Dambulla Rock Cave Temple

A sacred pilgrimage site for many years, Dambulla Cave Temples have the best preserved frescoes in Sri Lanka. The Buddhist mural paintings, which covers an area of 2,100 square metres, has to be seen to be believed.

Stone steps lead up to the Temple complex

Stairway to Caves

Access to the rock is via the stairs beside the ticket office. The walk up the gentle slope leads to the entrance of the Temple complex and offers panoramic views of the surrounding areas, including Sigiriya.

Panoramic views on the walk up to the temple complex

There are five caves at the base of Dambulla Rock, all of which would have been built during the ancient times of when Anuradhapura and Polonnaruwa were the capital cities of Sri Lanka.

Beautiful entrance to the Hindu cave temple

Murals make a mark on Izzy

It was here in these caves surrounded by it’s history, when the penny dropped for Izzy. Having listened attentively to our guide, she suddenly understood the significance of what she was seeing.


What a great place for a school trip!

With eyes wide open, she listened intently as we learnt of the exiled King who, with the help of the monks, took refuge in these caves for 15 years. We waked around in awe at how the murals followed the contours of the rock.

The detail of each image on the paintings, were meticulous and covered E-V-E-R-Y-T-H-I-N-G! Not a spot that was missed.

Just as impressive were the many statues of Buddha that we saw. There are a total of 153 statues of Buddha, three statues of Sri Lankan Kings and a few of Hindu gods and goddesses.

The verdict from a 9-year old

When asked what she remembers most about Dambulla, she says…”that it’s so old and it’s still here! And that I stood in the same place that Kings of Sri Lanka did ages ago!”

Our afternoon at Dambulla is a perfect example of the magic of Sri Lanka. What was supposed to be a quick stop as we travelled from Passikudah to Kandy, turned out to be an amazing experience. For all of us.

Have you travelled to a cultural or historical site with kids? Are there any that they have enjoyed?

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