Exploring the Golden Temple of Dambulla – Sri Lanka

(Last Updated On: March 1, 2013)

The Golden Temple of Dambulla is situated in the central area of Sri Lanka and was named a World Heritage Site in 1991. The beautifully designed temple can be seen from afar as it stands 100-150m above the road and provides hours of exploring. Sri Lanka’s known for its cleanliness and this area is no different as it is possibly one of the cleanest tourist spots you will ever visit.

Buddhas in the Dambulla Cave Temple
Buddhas in the Dambulla Cave Temple

What to do

Visit the Golden Temple of Dambulla, otherwise known as Dambulla Cave Temple, as it is made up of over 80 caves in total, but five have particular appeal for sightseers: the Cave of the Great Kings, the Great New Monastery, the Cave of the Divine King and two smaller, unnamed caves. They are adorned with statues, paintings, scripture and carvings praising Buddha.

Getting back to nature

The Golden Temple of Dambulla isn’t far from Trincomalee, a famous beach resort which is a must-visit location for a calming and relaxing experience. From here, you can take trips out to nearby islands, go swimming, surfing, diving or simply relax in the sun by the sea.

Illuminated statues of Buddha inside the ancient caves.
Illuminated statues of Buddha inside the ancient caves.

What to eat

Sri Lankan food has been influenced by many cultures and incorporates a lot of their locally-grown coconuts into meals, along with fresh vegetables, bamboo, rice, spices, seafood and meat. If you want to delve into authenticity, give your hands a wash and eat using your right hand, as locals do. However, you can ask for cutlery, if it has not already been provided.

What to drink

Ceylon tea is one of the most popular Sri Lankan drinks, followed by Thambli which is fresh coconut juice – they even cut the coconut in front of you. It’s available at street vendors and is cheaper and more refreshing than bottled water. As for alcoholic drinks, Toddy is a 4% drink while Arrack is much stronger (60-90%) and has a similar flavour to whiskey or rum.

Moment you’ll never forget

Outside the Dambulla Caves, there is a large pond area, which has lots of monkeys running around the water, up and down trees and making contact with tourists. While it may be safer to try and keep your distance, they’re only too happy to pose for photos.

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