There are many attractions in the city of Dambulla. Things to do include a tour to the famous Sigiriya rock or a safari at Minneriya. Then, of course, you could travel to the famous cave temple and explore the rich histories hidden within. In fact, resorts in the region make a point to include guided tours to the location – for example, the Water Garden Sigiriya Hotel.

The Cave of the Divine King

The temple is made up of five main caves that are linked together via a shrine room – the first of which is the Cave of the Divine King. Its most prominent feature is a 14m reclining Buddha statue that’s been carved out of the rock. A carving of the god Vishnu, whose divine power is said to have created these caves lies at the head of the statue, while the likeness of Buddha’s helper, Ananda, lies near the feet.

The Cave of the Great Kings

The largest cave in the temple harbours numerous statues of Buddha, and the gods Saman and Vishnu. Additionally, as the name suggests, it has carvings of some of the island’s most prominent rulers, including King Nissanka Malla and King Vattagamini.

The Great Monastery

The third cave houses the great monastery which contains a great many Buddha statues placed all around. It also has a statue of King Kirti Sri Rajasingha, a Kandyan King who restored the cave by adding ceiling and wall paintings.

The Fourth and Fifth Cave

Compared to the three main caves, the fourth and fifth caves are much smaller and do not have as many carvings or displays. There is however a small shrine to the God Vishnu in-between the two caves which draw in a regular stream of worshipers.