The town of Dambulla which is located north of Kandy is considered to be the central point of Sri Lanka. Built around a vast isolated rock mass, the name Dambulla was derived from the words ‘Damba’ which means rock and ‘ulla’ meaning fountain. Comprising five caves which have been converted into shrine rooms, it is considered the best preserved and largest temple complex in Sri Lanka. Among the many improvements made to the complex over the centuries, one of the most spectacular is the gilding of the inside of the temple by King Nissankamalla, thereby earning it the name “Ran Giri” which means Golden Rock.
The cave temples rise more than 160 m above the plains of the Dry Zone, and offer majestic views of the surrounding countryside, including the Sigiriya Rock fortress which is about 19 km away. The Cave of the Divine King or the Devaraja Lena houses a massive 14 m rock carved statue of the Lord Buddha. The Maha Raja Vihare also known as the Cave of the Great Kings, contains 56 rock, wood and stucco statues of the Lord Buddha as well as various gods, and a huge statue of King Valagamba. The third of the five cave temples is the Maha Alut Vihare or the Great New Monastery, which contains paintings and statues from the Kandyan period. The Paccima Vihare (Western Temple) and the Devana Alut Vihare complete the five cave temples within which are housed 153 images of the Lord Buddha and over 1500 ceiling murals.
The excursion from Jetwing Vil Uyana begins at 06.30 hours and lasts for six hours, with a journey of about 30 km. to and from the site to this eco hotel in Sri Lanka. Within the site there is a walking distance of about 2 km. The hotel provides transport to and from the site, a packed breakfast, water bottle, binoculars and a fresh fruit drink on return. Guests are advised to wear comfortable clothes that are suitable for a visit to a religious site, and bring with them their caps or hats, cameras, insect repellent and sun block.