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Popular Places to Visit in Dambulla

2022 Febraury updated

Dambulla is a large city in the Matale District in Central Province, 160 kilometres from the capital Colombo. The city is in the middle of the zone. Due to its location at a key intersection, the city is one of the main vegetable distribution centres. As a result, it is also known as Sri Lanka's sleepless town, as it operates 24 hours a day and many banks do as well. The area is thought to have been inhabited from the early 7th century BC to the 3rd century BC, and archaeological excavations have revealed that ancient people lived in agriculture even before the 7th century BC. Except for carrots and leeks, the remainder of Sri Lanka's vegetables can be cultivated in Dambulla soil..

How to travel

Distance from Airport – 130 Km

By Road

130 km or 2 ½ to 3 hour’s drive

Colombo – Ambepussa - Kurunegala Highway – with traffic

By Train

Colombo – Gal Oya Express train – 5 hour’s

Walk in to Colombo fort railway station and you can get tickets for 3rd class and 2nd class. (3rd class railway tickets price is very cheap)

3rd class is very crowded sometimes not recommended for tourists.

To pre-book a rail journey contact a travel agency

For more information, log in to –

By Air

Colombo – Nuwara Eliya – 20 to 30 minutes
The following travel companies offer internal chatter flights and Helicopter tours

01 Golden Buddha Statue

Golden Buddha Statue

A Golden Buddha statue rests beneath the three-story Buddhist Museum. The statue's construction began in 1998 and was completed in 2001. It was built out of concrete and bricks, then gold-plated. The Buddha is in the "Wheel of Law" or "Dhamma Chakka" pose. In this pose, it is the world's largest Buddha. The museum and the statue are both in close proximity to the Dambulla cave temple complex.

02 Dambulla cave temple

Dambulla cave temple

UNESCO designated Dambulla Golden Rock Cave Temple as a world-historic site in Sri Lanka in 1991 and is one of the top places to visit in Dambulla. The site is 2 kilometres from Dambulla's city centre. The massive rock rises 160 meters above the surrounding plains, with a circumference of more than 1.5 kilometres. The cave temple's history dates back to the era of king Sadda thissa in the 2nd century BC. The Brahmin letter inscription on the drip ledge of the main cave mentions it.

03 Megalithic burial site - Ibbankatuwa


This is an old burial place dating back as far as 500BC that has been carefully maintained. People in Sri Lanka at that period had the equipment to produce pottery and harden it using fire. They've burned the bodies and placed the ashes in a clay jar with their valuables. The site is well-designed, and a member of staff is available to answer questions if you need additional information. Along the Dambulla - Kurunegala Road, five kilometres from Dambulla is the Ibbankatuwa megalithic burial site. The location is roughly a half-kilometre down the road, close to a prominent signboard. The opening duration is from 8:00 a.m. until 5:00 p.m.

04 Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya or Sinhagiri (Lion Rock, pronounced see-gi-ri-y) is a historic rock stronghold in Sri Lanka's Central Province. It is located in the northern Matale District near the town of Dambulla. The name refers to a historical and archaeological site that is dominated by a gigantic rock column that rises to a height of 180 meters (590 feet). Climbing this gigantic rock is one of the most popular things to do in Dambulla.

According to the Culavamsa, this location was once a vast forest, but following storms and landslides,, it was transformed into a hill and chosen by King Kashyapa (477 – 495 AD) as his new capital. On top of this rock, he erected his palace, which was adorned with colourful frescoes on all sides. He erected a doorway in the shape of a huge lion on a little plateau approximately halfway up the side of this rock. Sinhagiri, or Lion Rock, is the name given to this location because of its construction.

05Sigiriya Frescoes


The Sigiriya Frescoes are located on the western side of Sigiriya Rock in central Sri Lanka. They were the centrepiece of King Kasyapa's vast palace complex, which he completed in 480AD. Only a few paintings remain now, in a narrow niche around 100 meters above the earth, halfway up the rock.

06 Sigiriya Mirror Wall


The Mirror Wall in Sri Lanka's Sigiriya Rock Fortress has been tarnished in orange hues. It was a highly polished white stone parapet wall that inched its way precariously down the near-perpendicular western surface of Sigiriya Rock when it was built by King Kasyapa approximately 1600 years ago.

07 Pidurangala Temple


Pidurangala Vihara is a historic Buddhist temple found in the Pidurangala area in Matale District, Sri Lanka. The temple was constructed on a gigantic rock named Pidurangala, which is located a few kilometres north of the old fort Sigiriya.

08 Kandalama Lake

Kandalama Lake

The Kandalama Reservoir is a reservoir in the Sri Lankan town of Kandalama. The Kandalama Dam, which is 21 meters high and 1,600 meters broad, creates the reservoir. The dam's water is used for irrigation in the region, which stretches all the way to Kekirawa. Taking a relaxing bath in the lake is one of the exhilarating things to do in Dambulla.

09 Heritance Kandalama Hotel


This award-winning villa, perched on the brink of a cliff, offers a tasteful commune with nature only 15 minutes from Dambulla Town. Heritance Kandalama is excellently positioned for experiencing Sri Lanka's Cultural Triangle, set within huge landscaped gardens and surrounded by green forests. The hotel is adjacent to two of Sri Lanka's most famous historical landmarks, the Dambulla rock temple and the Sigiriya rock temple, as well as the beautiful Kandemala Lake, which may be reached by foot or by horseback. The rooms at Heritance Kandalama are modern and minimalist, with private balconies offering expansive and uninterrupted views of the forest making it one of the top places to visit in Dambulla.

10Nalanda Gedige


Nalanda Gedige is an ancient full stone temple near Matale, Sri Lanka, that was once thought to be the country's centre. The structure was built in the Dravidian style (Pallava style) between the eighth and tenth centuries and is thought to have been utilized by Buddhists. Nalanda Gedige was a Buddhist monastery, according to a pillar inscription discovered at the site dating from the 9th to 10th centuries A.D. It includes a code of regulations designed for the temple and is written in Sinhala. According to some academics, this structure is a Dravidian construction dedicated to a Mahayana cult with pronounced Tantric learning, and it is noted for an ancient monument of likely Vajra origin.

11 Visit a Spice Garden


For ages, Sri Lanka has been known for its magnificent spice collection. These spices are significantly responsible for Sri Lankan cuisine's delectable flavours, whether it's a vegetable curry, red or white meat, fish or shellfish, or even sweetmeat.

The Sri Lankan spice sector now includes a wide range of products, from bulk spices such as genuine cinnamon to value-added essential oils. Smallholders dominate the sector, with smallholdings and home gardens accounting for more than 70% of cultivated land. Sri Lanka exports over 30,000 tons of various spices each year.

12Matale Alu vihara Temple


Aluvihare Rock Temple is a sacred Buddhist temple in Aluvihare, Sri Lanka's Matale District. The Aluvihara cave temple lies 30 kilometres north of Kandy on the Matale-Dambulla road, surrounded by hills. The history of Aluvihare Rock Temple may be traced back to King Devanampiyatissa's reign in the 3rd Century B.C. Following the introduction of Buddhism to the country during his reign, the King is said to have built the dagoba, planted the Bo sapling, and established the temple.

It was here that the Pali Canon was first written down completely in the text on ola (palm) leaves, which was a significant event. Near this temple are numerous monastic caves, some of which include frescoes.

13 National Spice Garden


Mr Regenold Cooray, the previous minister of Plantation, came up with the idea for the National Spice Garden in 2008. In 2015, the spice garden was finished and offered to the public. There are demonstrations of the cultivation procedures of the most major spice crops. Hundreds of people visit this park each year, including the general public, university students and other higher education institutes, school kids, Sri Lankan and foreign institutes' research, businesses, and those interested in photography. This service, which includes a visit and demonstration, is given free of charge and for the visitors' convenience.

14 Knuckles Forest Reserve


The Knuckles Mountain Range, named for its striking resemblance to human knuckles, is a beautiful UNESCO World Heritage Site and a popular hiking destination. Beautiful hiking trails may be found in the deep forest, which is surrounded by 34 mysterious mountains ranging in height from 900 to 2,000 meters. This 234-square-kilometre range showcases the best of Sri Lanka's diversified natural splendour, with gushing waterfalls in every clearing, tiny towns hidden among the mountains, countless terraced rice fields, and various rare and elusive creatures. Hiking in Horton Plains should be one of the compulsory things to do in Dambulla.

15 Riverston


The Riverston Peak in Sri Lanka can be reached by driving down the Matale – Girandurukotte Road, which is about 30 kilometres from Matale town. This hidden winding road, with its severe hairpin twists, provides some of the greatest vistas of the surrounding countryside, earning it the nickname "Mini World's End." Despite its popularity among locals, the area is largely unknown to mainstream tourists. As a result, the area exudes Sri Lanka's natural beauty: it's fresh, green, and free of sellers, visitors, waste, and unattractive structures.

16 Hunnasgiriya Waterfall


Hunnasgiriya falls, also known as Hunnas waterfall, is about 22 kilometres from Kandy, Sri Lanka. It's near the settlement of Elkaduwa in Matale District. Hunnas waterfall may be reached by two roads: one from Matale to Elkaduwa, and the other from Wattegama to Elkaduwa.

17 Village Tours – Habarana and Sigiriya

Village Tours – Habarana and Sigiriya
Location: Habarana
Location : Sigiriya

18 Bambarakiri Ella Falls


The scenic Knuckles mountain range, close to Rattota town in Matale District, is home to the Bambarakiri Ella waterfall. It's a three-meter-high drop. Bathing here should be done with caution since it has claimed the life of many people. A historic suspension bridge over the waterfall completes the picture of Bambarakiri Ella, which is already stunning.

19 Biso Ella Falls


The Selagama Tea Estate in the Matale district is home to the Yatawatta Biso Ella Waterfall. It stands 4 meters tall and emits a tiny mist of water that virtually vanishes at the foot of the waterfall. In the surrounding environment, this produces a mystical atmosphere. In the area, there is also a Hindu temple.

20 Sri Muthumari Amman Kovil


In Matale, Sri Muthumariamman Shrine is a Hindu temple. Mariamman, the goddess of rain and fertility, is honoured in this temple. Arulmigu Sri Muthumari Amman Kovil is another name for it. The current temple edifice, which is used by both Hindus and Buddhists, was completed in 1874. The chariot festival, which takes place in February or March, is one of the most important religious celebrations hosted at the Sri Muthu Mariamman Temple. A big hall is also available, which is primarily utilized for ceremonies such as weddings.

21 Kurunegala Lake Round


Kurunegala Lake is located in North Western Sri Lanka, near Kurunegala North. Kurunegala Lake is 3.68 kilometres in length. Rantala Lake or Kurunegala Tank are other names for it. It is a beautiful body of water located away from the city's traffic and on the outskirts of the main city.

22 Athugala Temple


Kurunegala District is located in Sri Lanka's North-Western Province, near the country's centre. Many of these districts' tourism attractions are based on mountain peaks, caves, and religious shrines. Athugala is one of Kurunegala's most well-known landmarks. The word Athugalpuraya is used by the natives to refer to the town.

23 Ethkanda Ancient Temple


This “Athkanda Viharaya” is a crypt temple and it is noted in “Maha wanshaya”. Although built by king “Suratissa”, it has been reconstructed many times. In this temple, there are two stone idols that are covered by mortar and the Kandy style robe design. The stone idol belongs to the period of Anuradapuraya. Adjacent to another small crypt temple, they display paintings on the roof and the “Sathsatiya”. In the small crypt temple there are “Mahindagamanaya”, ”Pajapati Gathamige Katina Chiwara Pojawa” and “Pidusiga wadima to Rajagaha Nuwara” painted on the wall.

24 Yapahuwa Rock Fortress


This is one of Sri Lanka's most stunning rock fortresses. There are numerous historical ruins and lovely locations to visit. The rock stronghold of Yahapauwa is located near Mahawa, between Kurunegala and Anuradhapura. King Buvanekabahu erected this castle to function as a residence and a military bastion against foreign invaders.