Buddha statuesin Dambulla cavetemple, Sri LankaDambulla Cave Temple is the largest and best-preservedcave temple system in Sri Lanka. Buddhism has been apopular religion in Sri Lanka for centuries, and this cavesystem is one of the oldest sacred sites for Buddhism inthe country. It dates back to the third century BCE. Overmany years Buddhist monks carved caves out of therocks and then used these caves to create sanctuariesand a monastery, which is still running today. Amonastery is where monks live and work. Buddhists fromall over the region would make a pilgrimage and travel tothis sacred site.
- There are 80 caves in the Dambulla Cave Temple.
- In these caves are 153 Buddha statues, three statuesof Sri Lankan kings and four statues of gods andgoddesses.
- The area is also called the Golden Temple of Dambulla,and it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
- There are five main caves.
- The first cave is called “Cave of the Divine King.” It has a46-foot-tall statue of Buddha carved into the rock.
- The second cave is the “Cave of the Great Kings.” Thisis the largest cave. It is decorated with 56 statues ofBuddha and two other gods to which visitors often offerflowers.
- This cave is named after King Vattagamani Abhaya.
- This cave is 172 feet long and 75 feet wide.
- The third cave is called “Great New Monastery.” The cavewalls are covered in paintings, and there are 50 Buddhastatues and a statue of the Sri Lankan king in the cave.
- This cave is 90 feet long and 81 feet wide.
- The cave walls are covered in very bright paintingscalled frescoes.
- The fourth and fifth caves are smaller. They are alsodecorated with paintings and sculptures, though theyare from a later period than the artwork in other caves.
- The fourth cave is called the Western Temple. It is 54feet long and 27 feet wide.
- There are 10 Buddha statues in this cave.
- Many ancient Sri Lankan kings supported themonastery in the caves.