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Dambulla Cave Temple (Golden Temple of Dambulla) Tours

Dambulla Cave Temple (Golden Temple of Dambulla)
Dambulla Cave Temple (Golden Temple of Dambulla) is the largest temple complex in Sri Lanka and dates back to the 1st century BC when King Valagamba took refuge in this giant rocky outcrop in central Sri Lanka. He had magnificent temples carved out from the caves here, some 150 meters above the surrounding plains. Today, the caves are recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

The hike up to the Dambulla cave temples is via a gentle slope and there are some superb views when you reach the top, with the Sigiriya Rock Fortress visible in the distance. It is thought that there are more than 80 caves in the area, but there are five main ones that attract the most attention. These contain various images of the Buddha, including reclining Buddhas and statues situated under makara toranas (arches decorated with dragons). There are also plenty of paintings depicting the life of the Buddha, most of which are from the 19th century. 

If you only have a day, visiting the Rangiri Dambulla Cave Temple is best combined with a trip to Sigiriya Rock Fortress and most tours leave from different departure points across the country. If you have a bit more time, a three-day tour will allow you to add Polonnaruwa to your itinerary as well as take a jeep safari to Minneriya National Park. To really explore the history and culture of Sri Lanka, join a seven-day heritage tour or a 10-night UNESCO World Heritage Sites tour. Couples can also visit Dambulla as part of six-day honeymoon package, which includes a romantic candlelight dinner at Mangrove Cave.

Insider’s Tip: It is best to visit the caves in reverse order, starting with cave number five and working backwards. Exploring the temples in this way means you will see them in gradually increasing degrees of grandeur (although cave two is perhaps the most spectacular of them all).

Practical Info

If not arriving as part of an organized tour, you can take a tuk tuk from Dambulla bus station to the cave temple complex. When you reach the site, you’ll find the ticket office at the gate next to a more modern temple (built in 2000). Tickets are then checked upon entry at the base of the hill.
Address: Kandy-Jaffna Highway, Dambulla, Central Sri Lanka, Sri Lanka
Hours: 7am-7pm
Admission: Adult: Rs 1100 / Child: Free
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4 Tours and Activities to Experience Dambulla Cave Temple (Golden Temple of Dambulla)

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Day Trips

Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Cave Temples Private Day Trip

Visit two UNESCO World Heritage sites, the Sigiriya Rock Fortress and Golden Temple of Dambulla, on this private day trip with a personal guide — a must-do activity when visiting Sri Lanka. You’re chauffeured in the comfort of your own vehicle for the approximate 4-hour drive from Negombo, Colombo or Mount Lavinai. Climb the 5th-century fortress on a sightseeing tour of the 8th Wonder of the World. After lunch, tour the impressive cave temple and marvel at its Buddha statues.
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  • 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation
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US$90.00
From  
US$90.00
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  • 14 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Historical & Heritage Tours

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Private Day Trip: Sigiriya and Dambulla Rock Cave Temple from Kandy

Cast your eyes over two of Sri Lanka’s greatest historical treasures on a Sigiriya and Dambulla Rock Caves day trip from Kandy. Marvel at the towering, UNESCO-listed Sirigiya rock and see its ruined fortress, landscaped gardens, and 1,500-year-old rock-face frescoes of maidens. After a lunch stop (own expense), visit UNESCO-protected Dambulla to see its temple-style caves of murals and Buddha images. Hotel pickup and drop-off, plus private guide, and private air-conditioned transport included.
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  • 9 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$90.90
US$101.00
US$10.10 savings
From  
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US$101.00
US$10.10 savings
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  • 9 to 10 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Cultural Tours

Sigiriya Rock and Dambulla Cave Temple Private Tour from Colombo

Explore two of Sri Lanka’s UNESCO-listed highlights on a privately guided day trip to Dambulla and the Sigiriya Rock from Colombo. View Sri Lanka’s countryside and villages as you journey to the atmospheric Dambulla Cave Temple, a cliffside cave complex packed with Buddha images and frescoes. Explore the caverns and after lunch continue to Sigiriya, a spectacular, ruined 5th-century royal fortress atop a gigantic rock outcrop. Climb the stairs up, passing the rock murals on the way, and marvel at the ruins and 360-degree views from the top.
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation
From  
US$116.00
From  
US$116.00
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  • 11 hours
  • Free Cancellation

Multi-day Tours

Sri-Lanka Cultural Tour 3 Day

Experience four of Sri Lanka’s top sights without having to plan your own transport or hotels on this private 3-day tour from Colombo. Soak in the views from a private air-conditioned vehicle, and enjoy Sigiriya, Polonnaruwa, Dambulla, and a 4x4 safari to spot elephants and wildlife at Minneriya National Park. The price includes two nights’ hotel accommodation, two breakfasts, two dinners, entry fees, and hotel or airport pickup and drop-off.
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  • 3 days
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US$490.00
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  • 3 days


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