Dambulla was our second stop in Sri Lanka’s cultural triangle (you can read about our first stop, Sigiriya here) and is home to one of the world’s largest and best preserved cave temple complex which is what we wanted to see. Until this trip and visiting Dambulla I had no idea how important Buddhism is in Sri Lanka.
The cave temple complex in Dambulla towers 160m over the surrounding town. Sister used google maps to find the entrance and it was an absolutely beautiful mini-hike uphill. I am sure that at night it is even more beautiful with all the lamps providing illumination.
While there are more than 80 caves in the complex, five are the most popular. They contain statues and paintings related to Lord Buddha and his life. Walking into each darkened cave was an extraordinary experience; Buddhism is one of the major religions I know the least about and I really appreciated Dambulla teaching me a little more.
Dambulla was a very tranquil stop on our trip and a lot less busy than I has expected. As with Sigiriya you don’t have to be super-fit to reach the cave complex but I definitely recommend that you have some level of fitness and are used to climbing starts and walking uphill. Also take a lot of water with you!
As the cave complex in Dambulla is a holy site all men and women have to cover their shoulders and knees. While I made my way up in shorts I had hareem trousers in my bag which I pulled on top on my shorts just before entering. If you also go on a really hot day like I did then I definitely recommend that rather than climbing up in full length clothes.
After Dambulla our next stop was to the hill stop Kandy, where the air was cold and fresh.
You can have a read about my Sigiriya Travel Diary here.