Situated in the north of Matale district in the Central province of Sri Lanka, Dambulla is just 148 kilometers from Colombo. According to history, the area is believed to be inhabited from as early as the 7th to 3rd century BC. The statues and paintings in the caves of Dambulla date back to the 1st century BC.
2700 years old human skeletons were found at the Ibbankatuwa prehistoric burial site which is evidence that civilizations had existed here long before the arrival of Buddhism in Sri Lanka.
Attractions at Dambulla:
Dambulla Cave Temple:
Also known as the Golden Temple of Dambulla, Dambulla Cave Temple is a World Heritage Site. It is the largest and the best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The rock stands 160 metres tall over the surrounding plains. There are around 80 caves containing statues and paintings related to Gautama Buddha and his life. There are 153 Buddha statues, three statues of Sri Lankan Kings and four statues of Gods and Goddesses.An area of 2,100 square meters is covered by murals and the walls contain depictions such as ‘temptation by deon Mara’ and Buddha’s first sermon.
Rangiri Dambulla International Stadium:
This is famous for being built in just 167 days. It is situated on a 60-acre site leased from the Rangiri Dambulla Temple and is the first and only International cricket ground in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. The stadium is built overlooking the Dambulla Tank (reservoir) and the Dambulla Rock.
The Rose Quartz Mountain Range:
Asia’s largest rose quartz mountain is situated in the “Jathika Namal Uyana” of Sri Lanka. According to archaeological researchers, the age of this Rose Quartz Mountain dates back to more than 500 million years. The mountain range consists of a series of 7 rose quartz mountains situated at an elevation of 180 to 300 meters above sea level sheltered by the largest ironwood forest.
The Popham Arboretum, Sri Lanka’s only dry zone arboretum was created over five decades ago on 7.5 acres of thorny scrub jungle and abandoned ‘Chena’ land in Dambulla amidst a natural landscape of water and mountains. Created by Sam Popham, an Englishman, the arboretum houses many species of birds, butterflies, dragonflies, spiders and mammals including bats.
The Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs
The Ibbankatuwa Megalithic Tombs is an ancient burial site located near Ibbankatuwa Wewa. The site is thought to belong to the megalithic prehistoric and protohistoric periods of Sri Lanka. Radiocarbon dating carried out on remains of the site has revealed that these tombs date back to 700 – 400 B.C.
Kaludiya Pokuna Forest:
Kaludiya Pokuna Archaeologica Forest site is a forest with archeological remains in Kandalama, in the Dry Zone of Sri Lanka. The place got its name (‘kalu’ means black) from a pond that had dark water at ancient times. The initial settlement was found in the 2nd century BC the remains in the site include inscriptions, residences and a monastery. The forest is home for many endemic and non-endemic species of flora and fauna.