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Dambulla Cave Temple History

The antiquity of Dambulla dates back to pre-Christian times as evidenced by the inscriptions in its caves. However, the site was first mentioned during the reign of King Walagamba (29-17 BC). The cave temples found there are believed to have been built by that king. This Dambulla temple is built under a large boulder which rises about 600 feet and spreads over an area of ​​2000 (two thousand) feet. This is one of the largest cave temples in Sri Lanka.

Dambulla Temple The second part of the Mahavamsa mentions the temples that were restored by King Vijayabahu the Great of Polonnaruwa. This inscription is engraved on the rock to the right after passing the gate. It has 25 lines. The last few lines of this inscription state: The king restored the ruined temples to the day of the previous king.

He also visited temples in Anuradhapura, Devinuwara and Mahiyanganaya and made large donations. The sleeping, seated and seated idols of the Dambulla temple were gilded, and seven lakhs (kahawanu) of wealth were spent, and a pooja was performed and the temple was named “Swarnagiriguha”. This inscription of King Nissankamalla reveals two important facts about Dambulla.

1. King Nissankamalla placing gold on the standing statues, seated statues and sleeping statues in the Dambulla cave and performing an offering at a cost of seven lakhs (kahawanu)

2. Naming the Dambulla cave as Swarnagiri cave

Dambulla Cave Temple History of Five Cave Temples

Historically as well as archeologically important, the cave temple complex here consists of five cave temples with excellent works of art. They are as follows.

  1. Cave : Devaraja Viharaya 
  2. Cave : Maharaja Viharaya
  3. Cave : Aluth Viharaya 
  4. Cave : Western Temple
  5. Cave : Second Aluth Viharaya 

The main objective of the Dambulla artists is to show the Buddhist devotees the image of the Supreme Buddha, the glorious history and the path of action taken to preserve Buddhism. This may be the reason why it is said that the paintings of the Dambulla Vihara show the feelings of the common people. The Dambulla Temple Complex has the largest number of murals and canopies in Sri Lanka.

The size is 20,000 square feet (twenty thousand square feet) and apart from that one hundred and fifty seven statues of different sizes can be seen here. “Many people are used to measuring all the paintings here and considering them as belonging to the Kandy period. Dambulu Vihara is not a place that has been neglected since then. Paintings belonging to the Polonnaruwa period can be easily identified.

There is also no debate about the paintings of the Kandyan period. But between the Kandy period and the Polonnaruwa period, there are many frescoes that show an artistic tradition that has not survived. In some places there are only paints and lines that were later applied to old paintings. In some places, when skilled craftsmen are caught, the old paintings are drawn on the top line and the places where the colors are applied are clearly visible.

If you look closely, the color lines underneath are clearly visible. The skill of the Sinhala artist in adapting the paintings is evident from the large paintings on the canopy. Dhammachakka’s Sutta sermon could not have been done by an artist during the period of the defeat of Mara.

Although they were created during the Polonnaruwa period, they were made long after that. The maidens’ headdresses in the painting depicting the marauders dancing in the canopy are special decorations confined to Dambulla. It would have been rare if such ornate, intriguing, ornaments had been in the female painting after Sigiriya.

The special feature of this is that the hair is tied at the top and the headdress is worn with the hair visible. Five other figures are depicted at the scene of this dance. Another female figure is painted on it using clouds. The headdresses of all these female figures are equally ornate. These paintings are inspired by the paintings of the Kandyan period.

The 17-line portrait of the Buddha on one side of the canopy is a high-profile painting. There is no doubt that some of its verses were written during the Kandyan period. The paintings depicting the Buddha Sathsati are very beautiful.

Frequently Asked Questions

Dambulla Cave Temple Entrance Fee?

Dambulla Cave entrance fee is LKR 1500 (Sri Lankan Rupee) which costs you around INR 560 and USD 7.70. Prices will be half Ticket for children ages between 5 and 12 years, and below that age, entry is free for kids. Please make sure that you pay in cash. Updated August 2021

What Is the Location Dambulla Cave Temple?

If You Drive Through Colombo to Dambulla Road, Turn Right From the Clock Tower Towards Kandy, Then Drive About 2.2 Km. If You Drive From Kandy to Jaffna Road, the Temple Is About 2.2km Before Dambulla Town at Right-hand Side.

Dambulla Cave Temple Entrance Fee For Saarc Countries?

Dambulla Cave Temple Entrance Fee For Saarc Countries are LKR 750 (sri lankan rupee) which costs you around INR 255 and USD 3.70. Prices will be half ticket for children ages between 5 and 12 years, and below that age, entry is free for kids. Please make sure that you pay in cash.  50% discount for all the tickets of Saarc Countries Updated August 2021

Dambulla Cave Temple Map

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