Dambulla Sri Lanka - Explore The Rich Cultural Heritage

By Jenna Jolie

Dambulla in Sri Lanka: Endless beaches, pristine waters, timeless ruins, loads of elephants, welcoming people, famous tea, delicious food, and cheap prices – needless to say, Sri Lanka has a lot to offer anyone who sets foot in this magical land! For centuries, this rather small island, located right in the middle of the Indian Ocean, has convinced many generations of visitors. 

Located 72 km from Kandy, Dambulla in Sri Lanka is a fairly large town, which is considered a "wholesale market" specializing in distributing vegetables and agricultural products throughout the country. But that's not what makes this place a famous landmark. On the tourist map of Sri Lanka, the name Dambulla is almost associated with the Cave Temple or Golden Temple – a cultural heritage recognized by UNESCO in 1991.

In this article, we will introduce some places that you must visit when you come to Sri Lanka - Dambulla and what you should prepare before traveling. 

Where is Dambulla?

Dambulla is a town located in the Central Province of Sri Lanka, about 148 km northeast of Colombo, Sri Lanka's capital city. Dambulla Sri Lanka, is located in the island's north-central area and, along with Sigiriya and Anuradhapura, forms part of the country's cultural triangle. 

It is situated in the Matale District and is easily accessible by road and rail. The nearest airport is Bandaranaike International Airport, which is approximately 150 km away. From the airport, you can either take a taxi or a bus to Dambulla. The journey takes about three to four hours, depending on traffic.

Dambulla also has many UNESCO World Heritage Sites, including the Dambulla Cave Temple, which is one of the best-preserved cave temples in the country. The town is also surrounded by beautiful landscapes and is a famous destination for nature lovers.

Dambulla Sri Lanka is the most peaceful place that travelers might be interested in when visiting this country

Dambulla Sri Lanka is the most peaceful place that travelers might be interested in when visiting this country

How to get from Colombo to Dambulla?

The nearest airport to Dambulla is the Bandaranaike International Airport in Colombo. You can take a domestic flight from Colombo to Sigiriya Airport, which is about 20 km from Dambulla. From there, you can take a taxi or a tuk-tuk to your hotel or destination. This is the most convenient option if you are short on time or want to avoid the long journey by road. 

Below is the estimate of the time that you will travel from Colombo to Dambulla by various transportation:  

  • By Car: 2 to 3 hours
  • By Bus: 3 to 4 hours
  • By Tuk-Tuk: 4 to 5 hours
  • By Train: 5 to 6 hours. 

Things to do in Dambulla for first-time visitors 

Dambulla may not be the nicest destination to stay in Sri Lanka, but it certainly has a lot to offer. Spend one or two nights here and take day excursions to the following attractions.

Explore the Dambulla Cave Temple

Dambulla Cave Temple -  popularly known as the Golden Temple, is a World Heritage Site in the Matale neighborhood of Dambulla. The golden temple Dambulla, located around 17 kilometers from Sigiriya, is culturally and historically significant to Sri Lankans. The caves are filled with statues of Buddha and Hindu gods and goddesses, as well as intricate murals and frescoes.

Around 80 caverns have been discovered, but only five of them are particularly noteworthy. These five caverns are rather vast and serve as the temple's main paths, all of which portray the temple's main attraction: the recounting of Gautama Buddha's life in various forms, including elaborate paintings on the cave walls and ceilings. The temple houses 153 Buddha sculptures, three statues of Sri Lankan rulers, and four statues of different deities.

The Golden temple in Dambulla Sri Lanka

The Golden temple in Dambulla Sri Lanka

Enjoy the beauty of Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Come to Dambulla Sri Lanka; travelers can not ignore the most visited site that is famous for its majestic beauty - Sigiriya Rock Fortress. Located just a few kilometers from Dambulla, the fortress - a UNESCO World Heritage Site - is considered to be one of the interesting places to visit in Dambulla

The fortress was built in the 5th century AD by King Kasyapa and was used as a royal palace and a fortress. The fortress is known for its magnificent frescoes and its impressive lion's paw entrance. Visitors can reach the top of the fortress to enjoy panoramic views of the nearby landscape. 

Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla

Sigiriya Rock Fortress, Dambulla

Visit the Avukana Buddha Statue

The statue is located at Avukana, adjacent to the Kala Wewa reservoir in Anuradhapura District. The Avukana statue rises like a monolith from a granite cliff face. The statue is 38 feet and 10 inches tall on its own. The total height of the pedestal is an impressive 42 feet (13m). Avukana is roughly an hour's drive north of Dambulla. You may hire a tuk-tuk driver or ride your own motorcycle for the day.

Because the Avukana Buddha statue is pretty unknown to travelers, it is mostly frequented by locals rather than foreign visitors. So, this is the chance for you to explore and enjoy the majestic and sophisticated statue. 

This is one of the most important historical sites in Dambulla

This is one of the most important historical sites in Dambulla

Soak in Nature of Kalu Diya Pokuna

This is part of the Mihintale rock tour, which is around 13 kilometers east of Anuradhapura. Following the King's conversion to Buddhism, it is said that he created this natural water pool for the Buddhist monks' usage. 

Visiting Kalu Diya Pokuna is one of the most exciting things to do in Dambulla, Sri Lanka, and it is well worth your time. It literally translates to "pond with black water," and this is a real black water pool. This entails trekking as well, but the view at the other end makes the journey much more enjoyable.  

One of Sri Lanka's best-kept secrets, the quiet and peace that you will discover here can only be felt, not articulated. You will also be witness to the magnificent mother nature, with  different kinds of birds and butterfly species. 

Kalu Diya Pokuna Black Water Pond

Kalu Diya Pokuna Black Water Pond

Where to eat in Dambulla - Explore the traditional foods sales centre

In this government-run establishment, you can really taste the local culture. It's a fantastic opportunity for the explorer in you to sample the local traditional cuisine that this old town has to offer. This place is located on Pelwehera Rd, Dambulla, Sri Lanka, starting from 7 am to 7.30 pm. 

They provide unique dishes such as Pittu (steamed rice flower patty with savory sauce), Narang Kavum (fried coconut and honey ball), and Belimal flower tea. It's a win-win situation since you get to sample the culinary quality of this lovely town while the ladies who maintain the stand earn money to keep their houses operating.

If you want to enjoy the fruits here, we recommend you to visit Kandy - Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Sri Lanka, where fresh vegetables and fruits on their way to the capital may be seen, and the bright aura surrounding this location is just exhilarating. The farmers of Dambulla market provide a glimpse into the culinary prowess of this country because it displays only local food, and you can taste and buy it for your friends and family. 

Various kinds of fruits in Dambulla market, Sri Lanka

Various kinds of fruits in Dambulla market, Sri Lanka

Extra information for you to prepare your Dambulla trips

Before traveling to Dambulla, you must do some research about this place in order not to overload yourself with various attractive destinations and to know what the weather is like and what you should prepare to visit this country.  

What is the Dambulla weather like? 

Dambulla has a tropical climate with substantial rains from April to January, and the temperature is more or less stable throughout the year, ranging from 30°C-34°C at the highest and 15°C-17°C at the lowest. 

Dambulla is primarily defined by two seasons: summer and monsoons. At Dambulla, tourism is at its highest in July, August, and January, with March being the least frequented month. Best time to visit Dambulla between May and October when the weather is pleasant. This time is also the peak tourist season, so that prices can be higher and popular attractions can be crowded.

What to prepare before visiting Dambulla? 

To enter Sri Lanka, you must first get a visa; otherwise, you will be denied entry if your nationality is not on the exemption list. Presently, the visa system is digitalized, so travelers may apply from anywhere or at any time as long as they meet the requirements for an e-visa. You may verify your eligibility and apply for an e-visa to Dambulla Sri Lanka.

You can refer to the top destinations in Sri Lanka, which might help you to travel without worrying about where to visit. If you have any questions, please contact Sri Lanka Immigration Services anytime to assist with your trips and your visa procedures. 

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