The Rock Temple of Dambulla is the Dambulla Cave Temple. It is also called Jumbukola Vihara. It is one of the World Heritage Sites of Sri Lanka and is located at an elevation of 1118 feet from the sea level. Dambulla Cave Temple is situated near the central part of the country and is built on a massive rock that is 600 feet high and over 2000 feet in length from surrounding plains of Dambulla. Dambulla is the home to the World’s most acclaimed Cave complex of magnificent Buddha Images and Rock Paintings of vivid colors and shapes.
During the rule of King VattagaminiAbhaya (103 BC and 89-77 BC), The Dambulla cave Temple was first constructed. The king had to hide in different caves for 12 years during a South Indian invasion. He had to abandon his Anuradhapura Kingdom. But, after regaining the kingdom of Anuradhapura and becoming the King, he decided to show his gratefulness for his safe place. Then, he converted those caves into Buddhist Temples as a symbol of thanks. He constructed three cave temples named as Devarajalena, Maharajalena, and the Paccimalena. He constructed walled partitions under the rock overhang. Those spans the entire area as a single large cave. To make those caves suitable to withstand rainy weather, he got drip ledges made along this large cave. It also avoided water seeping inside the caved areas.
Further paintings were made by later kings. King NissankaMallamade the caves’ interiors gilded. This helped the place earn the name Ran Giri (Golden Rock). The latter kings put on their effort to make the place further better. The fifth cave has no historical importance as it was built during the second decade of last century. All the five caves have got different names. They are: Deva Raja Viharaya, Maha Raja Viharaya, MahaAlutViharaya, Paschima Viharaya and DevanaAlutViharya. These names are dedicated to kings, temple, and gods.
Five separate caves contain about 150 stunning Buddha statues and paintings. It is one of the Sri Lanka’s most important and evocative religious art. The caves were constructed and painted from around 2nd Century BC during the times of Anuradhapura era. Such developments continued up to the Kandyan era during the 18th Century.
Sinhalese people, the locals there call the cave as ‘ Dambulu Gala’. And also, the Temple is called as the ‘ RangiriDambuluViharaya’ (Golden Rock Dambulla Temple).The shortest way from Colombo, the capital city to Dambulla is via Kurunegala. For tourists and locals, Dambulla is a scent of unique interest. Its rock temples are one of the most ancient monuments in the country. There has been an attraction center for archaeologists digging history. Tourists enjoy the beauty of the caves and nearby places. The five caves are at the highest state of preservation and order. Regular cleaning and maintenance is done by government bodies for a preservation of this unique heritage.