Dambulla Travel Guide: The Complete Guide

Dambulla is a large city that is located in the Matale District, Central Province of Sri Lanka. The city resides 148 km north-east of Colombo and 72 km north of Kandy. Dambulla belongs to the Cultural Triangle, which was declared by UNESCO and it happens to be on the main from Sigiriya to Kandy. Also, it is 19 km away from Sigiriya. Dambulla is surrounded by more than 80 caves and some of these caves are frequently used by the monks as a meditation place.


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Furthermore, the main attraction of this city is the five caves that comprises of statues and several paintings. These caves were founded by King Valagamba by the 1st century B.C. However, over the years, many changes and renovations have been made to these caves. Besides, Dambulla is situated at a key intersection point and consequently, that is the centre of vegetable distribution in the entire country. Above all, Dambulla is a unique city with lots of historical interests.

Things to See in Dambulla


Dambulla Rock Temple: Dambulla is blessed with more than 80 caves and the central attraction of this city is the Dambulla Rock Temple. This temple includes five cave temples and they have roots to the first century B.C… Additionally, this temple is one of the UNESCO world heritage sites and it is the biggest and best-preserved cave temple complex of Sri Lanka as well. The towers in the cave are 160 m long and are over the encircling plains. Here, you will see paintings and statues of Lord Buddha and his life. There are 153 Buddha statues in total along with three statues of Sri Lankan kings and four statues of god and goddess. All of these statues and paintings are just amazing and wonderful. Every year, tourists from around the world visit the Dambulla Rock Temple just to experience these astonishing creations.

Rose Quartz Mountain: The Rose Quartz Mountain is approximately 500 million years old and it is a mountain range. This is one of the top attractions of Dambulla. You will a lot of white rose alongside violet color quartz in the Rose Quartz Mountain. If you start a trek to reach this highest Mountain range in the entire South Asia, you will be feeling a sense of satisfaction. The reason for this is that it will present you a stunning view of the adjoining countryside for miles. Though the mountain is made of rose quartz, you can’t recognize easily.

Iron Wood Forest: The Iron Wood Forest was considered to be a human sanctuary and many believe that it was made by King Dappula, the 10th Century AD ruler. This is forest is recognized as Jathika Namal Uyana and it will offer you a captivating trek through the deep jungle. This jungle is covered by the Sri Lankan national tree, the Naa. Plus, this forest has significant value to ecologists since it carries an ecological importance the country.


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Things to do in Dambulla


Visit the Golden Temple Buddhist Museum: The Golden Temple Buddhist Museum is standing at the foot of the golden Buddha statue. At the entrance point of the museum, you will see a massive lion-like beast. The museum is quite big. However, it has a few numbers of exhibits except some tedious pieces of the cave temple paintings. But you will definitely enjoy while visiting this museum as it marks the historical evidence of Buddha for the visitors.

Bird and Monkey Watching: While staying in Dambulla, you can get fun while watching birds and monkeys. Generally, the city is famous for its bird watching tours. Also, there are lots of monkeys, which are quite funny given that they tend to show hilarious acts. Other than this, the top bird watching tours in Dambulla are hosted in the Rose Quartz Mountain area as well as in Iron Wood Forest.

Shop in Dambulla: Dambulla boasts comprehensive and modernized markets and they make the city more appealing to the tourists. The city has become the commercial hub of Sri Lanka’s North Province. When you stroll on the streets, you will get to see several shops displaying a puzzling array of agricultural equipment, bicycles by the dozen, household utensils, etc. These markets best represent the local culture of Dambulla.

How is the weather of Dambulla?


Dambulla has classic tropical weather with less rainfall in the summer season. The average temperature of Dambulla is 26.8 ° and the average rainfall is 1557 mm in each year. Generally, the months of January, February, March, April, and May feature a pleasant average temperature. Usually, the heavy rainfall is seen in the months June, July, August, September, October, November, and December. On an average scale, the warmest month of Dambulla is April and the coolest month is August. On the other hand, the driest month of Dambulla is March and the wettest month is October.


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How to reach Dambulla?


You can reach Dambulla by the following options –

By Air: There are flights available up to Bandaranaike International Airport and Katunayaka airport where you can easily reach Dambulla through a bus or hired car.

By Water: Sri Lanka has three deep-water ports and they are situated at Galle, Colombo and Trincomalee. After reaching these ports, you can hire a bus or taxi to reach Dambulla.

By Train: Dambulla is 45 km away from Gal Oya junction on the eastern railway line. It is also away from Matale on the Main Line with a same distance. After reaching any of these railway lines, you can easily reach Dambulla by car or bus.

Distance from Major Travel Places



  • Arugam Bay to Dambulla – 247 km

  • Adam’s Peak to Dambulla – 177 km

  • Anuradhapura to Dambulla – 71 km

  • Batticaloa to Dambulla – 157 km

  • Bentota to Dambulla – 231 km

  • Bundala National Park to Dambulla – 283 km

  • Beruwala to Dambulla – 222 km

  • Colombo to Dambulla – 174 km

  • Ella to Dambulla – 187 km

  • Galle to Dambulla – 274 km

  • Hambantota to Dambulla – 313 km

  • Hikkaduwa to Dambulla – 262 km

  • Horton Plains to Dambulla – 226 km

  • Jaffna to Dambulla – 247 km

  • Kalkudah to Dambulla – 133 km

  • Kalpitiya to Dambulla – 170 km

  • Kandy to Dambulla – 80 km

  • Katunayake to Dambulla – 141 km

  • Kitulgala to Dambulla – 146 km

  • Knuckles Range to Dambulla – 184 km

  • Mannar to Dambulla – 104 km

  • Matara to Dambulla – 304 km

  • Minneriya to Dambulla – 45 km

  • Negombo to Dambulla – 139 km

  • Nilaveli to Dambulla – 114 km

  • Nuwara Eliya to Dambulla – 204 km

  • Pasikudah to Dambulla – 135 km

  • Pinnawela to Dambulla – 92 km

  • Polonnaruwa to Dambulla – 66 km

  • Puttalam to Dambulla – 126 km

  • Ratnapura to Dambulla – 190 km

  • Sigiriya to Dambulla – 14 km

  • Sinharaja to Dambulla – 352 km

  • Trincomalee to Dambulla – 102 km

  • Unawatuna to Dambulla – 274 km

  • Weligama to Dambulla – 294 km

  • Wilpattu National Park to Dambulla – 108 km

  • Yala National Park to Dambulla – 257 km


To finish off, Dambulla is an attractive proposition for several tourists because it is unique and is the commercial hub of the country. With ancient cave temples, the city becomes more alluring as they will take the tourists to the era of Buddha. When you are traveling to Dambulla, you should remember that this place is sacred as well. So, don’t miss a bit of this one-of-a-kind city and enjoy your trip to the fullest with our Dambulla travel guide.

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