Dambulla is famous among tourists for its wonderful cave temple complex of 2nd century BC. Dambulla is situated in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, about 148 km north-east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. Located on the main road from Sigiriya to Kandy about 19Km from Sigiriya, Dambulla is a part of the Sri Lanka tourism Cultural Triangle declared by UNESCO.
Major tourist attractions of the Dambulla include the largest and best preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka, and the Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium, famous for being built in just 167 days.
History of Dambulla
Dambulla is a unique and important historical tourist site because of combining a vast material in one place from a long history. Dambulla caves are supposed to be established before 1st century BC as one of the largest monasteries in Sri Lanka. The caves in Dambulla provided refuge to King Valagamba in his 14 year long exile from the Anuradapura kingdom. Buddhist monks meditating in the caves of Dambulla at that time provided protection to Valagamba from his enemies.
When King Valagamba returned to the throne at Anuradapura kingdom after 14 years of exile in the 1st century BC, he converted the caves into a temple as a gratitude to the monks in Dambulla. It was added to by several kings till the late eighteenth century. In the course of several centuries, many improvements and additions have been carried out to the sculptures and paintings and Dambulla caves became a major location to view evolution of the ancient Sri Lankan arts. The monks began the militant nationalist movement against the British in 1848 within Dambulla cave complex.