Dambulla Cave Temple
Dambulla Cave Temple
4.5
Points of Interest & LandmarksReligious Sites
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Monday
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Tuesday
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Wednesday
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Thursday
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Friday
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Saturday
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
Sunday
7:30 AM - 7:00 PM
About
The Dambulla Cave Temple is located 24 km (30 min) from Sigiriya in central Sri Lanka. Built in about 80BC It is the largest and best preserved cave temple in Sri Lanka. Inside are 153 Buddha statues in various reposes, three statues of ancient kings, and four other statues including those of Vishnu and Ganesh. The ceiling and walls have been repainted over the centuries contain a juxtapose of imagery including those of royal life.
Duration: 2-3 hours
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  • kazganymede
    Oyster Bay, Australia315 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the 360 stairs
    I was apprehensive about climbing the stairs as I have damaged knees. However, our driver dropped us off at another pathway which was more like ramps, making the ascent easier. The five caves were worth the trek, with their sacred Buddhist images dating from C3rd BC to modern times. We used the stairs to descend and I noticed that some of them didn't have handrails, which was my only complaint. It would be wonderful if they could transport people to the caves without the stairs at some point in the future.
    Visited May 2023
    Written 1 July 2023
  • Adler Tours
    Rajkot, India668 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Dambulla Golden Temple
    On the 2nd day of our Holidays in Sri Lanka and after visiting Pinnawalla Elephant Orphanage, we proceed to visit Dambulla Cave Temple which is also known as Golden Temple. This Buddhist Temple Complex which is situated on top of mountain approximately 160 meters above the plains and is also a World Heritage site. It consists of five main caves, which house numerous statues and paintings related to Buddhism. These caves have a history dating back more than 2,000 years and have been continuously occupied by Buddhist monks. These Caves have a large number of Statues of Lord Buddha in various forms along with various other deities and important figures from Buddhist history. The walls and ceilings of the caves are adorned with vibrant frescoes depicting scenes from the life of Buddha and other religious motifs along with that of Hindu Deity, Lord Vishnu. At the entrance of the Complex, one can see the renowned Grand Golden Buddha Statue which has been well preserved along with other artefacts and attract large number of Pilgrims as well as Tourists from Srilanka and World over.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 22 July 2023
  • Traveller20175
    Arizona538 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must visit Cave Temples
    Absolutely loved the UNESCO World Heritage Cave Temples in Dambulla. We did it the same day as Sigiriya Rock so after a 1200 step climb in Sigiriya, it was a 600 step climb up Dambulla. If you are in the area longer then doing it on two different days, would be better. If not, do it on the same day and do not miss seeing the caves. There are five main caves that you can see. You can take photographs inside the caves too but do not use flash photography inside to preserve the frescos and the serene atmosphere inside the caves. My tour guide seemed to indicate that there were no rules against flash photography (he may be mistaken) but I did not use any flash photography inside. The frescos are painted on the walls and the ceilings and are absolutely awesome to see in the dim light in the caves. Give yourself about 2 hours to see the place. There are places while climbing the steps where you can pause, take some pics and give your legs a little rest before proceeding up. There is a place to leave your footwear, a little away from the caves. There is also a small entrance fee to enter the caves. Also they do close the caves for 15-20 minutes in the morning - I think at 10 am for worship of the Buddha statues inside the caves. So be aware of that. We saw 2 caves and then had to wait outside till they reopened to see the other 3 caves. Sigiriya Rock and Dambulla Caves both are absolutely awesome and must not be missed if you are visiting the area.
    Visited July 2023
    Written 28 July 2023
  • Emmanuel and Sarah
    Amsterdam, The Netherlands14 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing ancient city
    "We had the incredible opportunity to visit the Dambulla Cave Temple, and it truly exceeded all expectations. Nestled within the lush landscape of Sri Lanka, this ancient marvel is a testament to the country's rich cultural and historical heritage. The intricate cave paintings and sculptures, some dating back over two thousand years, are a mesmerizing sight to behold. As you ascend the steps to the temple, the panoramic views of the surrounding countryside are breathtaking. The serene atmosphere and spiritual aura of the temple create a sense of tranquility and introspection. Whether you're a history enthusiast, an art lover, or simply seeking a unique and meaningful experience, the Dambulla Cave Temple is an absolute must-visit destination."
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 14 August 2023
  • Lakni J
    2 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must Visit Place
    Most popular and an ancient temple in Dambulla town. This temple is very famous amount the locals and touriest as well. Very calm and silent place for meditation. Community from all religion visits here without any difference. All the necessary facilities are available.
    Visited August 2023
    Travelled with family
    Written 26 August 2023
  • jeff1955malaysia
    Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia6,137 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Cave temple
    The Dambulla Cave Temple in Sri Langka is a sacred pilgrimage site for 22 centuries. This cave monastery has 5 cave sanctuaries and the best preserved cave temple complex in Sri Lanka. The mural paintings on the walls cover an area of 2,100 meters.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled with friends
    Written 31 October 2023
  • evdey0kum
    Samsun, Türkiye70 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Amazing Place
    You start by climbing the stairs. You emerge from roads with magnificent views. You can leave your bags at the safe deposit box at the first entrance. When you reach the temple at the top, you will encounter a wonderful architecture. For a very small fee, you can have a local prayer to ward off bad luck read and a rope tied around your wrist.
    Visited July 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 November 2023
  • Handysmith
    Ryde, Australia306 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Worth the 400 steps
    As many reviews have described it is best to enter from the rear side (not the Golden Buddha side). There is ample parking then a sign indicating a few steps up to the ticket office. From there is 400 rough steps to the cave temples. Most stairs are under tree shade. Close to the top is an old local lady sells flowers to place at Buddha cost LKR200. We placed them then the cleaner picked them up and threw them in the bin - perhaps our timing was unlucky. Also at the top is a shoe kiosk where you pay by donation. Being our first day we had no idea of the local currency so paid a donation of LKR2000 for 2 pairs of shoes. The man was very pleased and shook my hand with a big smile as the going rate is probably 100. Oh well it was a good day for him and his family. A TIP is to keep your socks on as the stone ground gets hot. We also paid a local just inside the entry to the temple to give us a talk but it was fairly basic. I think getting some information from he internet would have been better. We then came back down the same stairs to the car park, meet our private driver who then drove us around to the Golden Buddha. We went up the stairs but really the best viewing is down the bottom. Didn't go in the museum so can't comment about that.
    Visited October 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 21 November 2023
  • Nickie K
    43 contributions
    5.0 of 5 bubbles
    Must see cave temples
    Incredible series of caves with frescoes and wood and stone statues. Very knowledgeable guide. We were a bit rushed to see it all because they were closing the doors for prayer. This was an extra on our tour and I'm so pleased we didn't miss it. Very reasonable tourist entrance fee compared to the better known sites. Don't miss it.
    Visited November 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 29 November 2023
  • 635nadi22
    Sydney, Australia34 contributions
    4.0 of 5 bubbles
    Impressive ancient cave temple
    This is really a stunning site, an ancient cave full of statues of Buddha and other deities. Even more awe inspiring that it’s been around for 22 centuries. Definitely worth a visit! A couple of tips - there is a fair bit to climb, not really a hike but can easily get winded. Having said that, the views when you get to the top are lovely (including Sigiriya and Pidurangala). There are two entrances. If you enter from the temple side, you have to climb up, and then go all the way to the bottom of the other side to buy tickets (LKR 2,000 only for foreigners). The guy at the ticket counter didn’t have change and fairly dismissively told me to wait till someone else happened to come along so he could get change, so I wasn’t too pleased about that. There are no tickets at the top! Wonderfully majestic and really an impressive sight.
    Visited December 2023
    Travelled as a couple
    Written 19 December 2023
These reviews are the subjective opinion of Tripadvisor members and not of TripAdvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews.

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Detailed Reviews: Reviews ordered by recency and descriptiveness of user-identified themes such as waiting time, length of visit, general tips, and location information.

Popular mentions

4.5
4.5 of 5 bubbles940 reviews
Excellent
554
Very good
299
Average
71
Poor
14
Terrible
2

levace
Sami, Greece106 contributions
2.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
2000r = $6 Entry price
We messed up here, By following a crowd of Locals. Walking up from the massive Gold Budda on the main road. Anyway we got more than half way up, And saw a sign saying ticket office, i
Turns out its in a different car park, Even further away than the one we came from,
Thinking this is just stupid, Decided to carry on up and buy them there,,, Ha ha NO CHANCE,
This place is Dirty, Litter everywhere, zero maintainance, Which seems odd for a place thats supposed to be sacred!
Anyway, As your not supposed to take pictures in the caves, And we had some of the huge gold one,,,,, Not too bad ,
Written 27 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Rupa Mehta
Mumbai, India45 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
May 2024 • Family
It's a wonderful temple complex. Very beautiful and must visit. There are intricate paintings on the ceiling too! The statues of Buddha in various poses are a sight to behold. Thankfully it wasn't crowded when we reached up. Also there is a starcase carved out of stone to reach the complex and there are places to sit along the way. So you can climb even though you might not be extremely fit.

Once you reach the top, you need to remove your shoes though socks are allowed. Also you are expected to cover your shoulders and wear clothes that cover your knees. For women, it's advisable to carry a scarf that can cover their shoulders and a sarong or skirt that can cover their knees. Men can also wear a sarong like cloth that covers their knees and a t shirt or shirt.
Written 16 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

manucanuck
Hong Kong, China1,932 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Solo
Initially I reached this place from the Dambulla Golden temple (walk up around 200 steps) but i was told that the ticket counter is down on the main road so i have to walk back down on the other side, entrance fee at 2000 LKR, and from there you need to climb 383 steps (yes i've counted) to reach the cave, but then i figured out that i could've simple return to the main road (which is only a slope) to avoid the climb... how silly me...

Anyway this place isn't as big took me 30 minutes to complete the tour. as the largest cave temple complex in Sri Lanka, i would say it's worth to visit
Written 15 May 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Sheree W
30 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Apr 2024 • Couples
After a fairly hard climb up several flights of steps in the Sri Lankan heat the temple was a very cool and beautiful place. You have to take off your shoes but can wear socks. The caves are full of beautiful and extraordinary statues and paintings. We had a guide who explained the significance of the statutes which certainly helped. The temple has a calm and welcoming feel.
Written 29 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Aabith Daz
Badulla, Sri Lanka45 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
This iconic landmark, also known as the Golden Temple, is a must-see for any Sri Lanka visitor. While the entrance fee is 2,000 LKR for tourists (entry is free for locals), the experience is priceless. Head there for a mesmerizing evening visit as the sun dips below the horizon. The afternoon heat can make the climb to the cave and the exploration of the numerous Buddha statues a bit uncomfortable. So lace up your walking shoes, bring plenty of water, and be prepared to be awestruck by this ancient wonder!
Written 20 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Maksim B
London, UK3,461 contributions
4.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
This is a pretty interesting temple in the caves. When you have thousands of temples in Sri Lanka, it is pointless to visit a dozen of them (unless you are into religion). That is why this one is a nice to visit place. It has 150+ Buddha statues in several caves, all lined up. Some of the caves represent different historical periods, so the Buddha faces are somehow different. There is a short, but steep stairs climb to the temple, but with a nice view.

Only issue is that the smaller caves/rooms are super hot inside.

TIP: if you are walking with shorts, short trousers, dress you will have to cover your legs. While climbing the stairs : DO NOT buy the covers you are offered.

A: they will rip you off telling you that you cannot enter without it;
B: there is the opportunity rent one at the temple’s doors for 200 rupees
Written 10 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

merl_desilva
Colombo, Sri Lanka7 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Jan 2024 • Business
It's a Wonderful place and a must visit in Sri Lanka. This temple is very famous among the locals and tourist.
Knees and shoulders need to be covered and you must remove your shoes at the entry to the temple.
Written 10 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Adam B
8 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Couples
It’s a nice stop if you are driving to/from Sigiriya. The 5 caves are very interesting to visit, but it only took us ~20 minutes to look around them all. Perhaps not a standalone trip, especially if you are travelling far.

Guides will approach you trying to get you to pay them for a tour, this isn’t a requirement. We did see 1 disguised guide tell a couple that they weren’t allowed to take photos, but they could if they were with him. This seemed like a trick to get payment for a guided tour or a tip.
Written 1 April 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Victorianlad
Melbourne, Australia17,463 contributions
3.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
This famous temple complex must be unique given its showcases Buddhism in caves. The displays are appropriately lit and quite enchanting.

We ascended by means of 'natural' ramps next to steps. I didn't find this overly taxing, but most of us had to have a breather due to the heat and humidity even though it was only mid morning.

I had been here before but didn't have much memory of the setup.

As usual with Buddhist temples, one has to remove shoes prior to entering. A runner assisted in walking over the entrance flagstones in socks.

We has our guide explain some of the finer points. This was interesting.

The descent was more challenging: down 360 often uneven steps. Hard for older visitors. There was a lack of guide rails until close to the other entrance, at the bottom.

Some rubbish was on site which wasn't ideal. It needs to be picked up.
Written 25 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

Birgit P
Tallinn, Estonia103 contributions
5.0 of 5 bubbles
Mar 2024 • Friends
As for us it was mostly on the way to Sirigiya, went to see and did not dissapoint. It is a bit climb and stairs, but there was swadow on the way. If you did not take water with you, you can buy it on the way. Tickets are sold near the carpark. Beatiful views. Additonal charges for shoerack.
Written 14 March 2024
This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.

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Dambulla Cave Temple - All You Need to Know BEFORE You Go (2024) - Tripadvisor

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