Dambulla Cave Temple

A massive rock rises 1118 feet above sea level with a height of 600 feet and over a 2000 feet in length. Worlds most admired cave complex situated there with magnificent Buddha Images and Rock Paintings of vibrant colours and shapes which was constructed and painted from around 2nd Century BC (Anuradhapura era) and continued up to the Kandyan era of the 18th Century. The site also contains evidence of human occupation going back to the prehistoric period, including the megalithic cemetery at Ibbankatuwa.

 

This magnificent temple had first been constructed by King Vattagamini Abhaya (103 BC and 89-77 BC). During a South Indian attack the king had to abandon his Anuradhapura Kingdom and this caves has been his shelter during that time. Once he regained the kingdom of Anuradhapura and became the King, to show his gratitude for his safe place, he converted those caves into Buddhist Temples by constructing walled partitions under the rock. These caves are suitable for rainy weather as well due to the drip ledges made along the cave.

 

The temple is composed of five caves, which have been converted into shrine rooms. The Devaraja Lena - The Cave of ' Lord of the Gods', The Maharaja Lena - The Cave of ' Great Kings ', The Maha Alut Viharaya - The Cave of ' Great New Temple' ,The Paccima Viharaya - The Cave of ' Western Temple' & The Devana Alut Viharaya - The Cave of ' Second New Temple'. Among those five, Devarajalena, Maharajalena and the Paccimalena were constructed by King Vattagamini Abhaya.

 

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