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Updated by Joanna James on Jul 13, 2023
Headline for 10 Things you need to know before visiting Dambulla Rock Temple - For a hassle-free and memorable travel experience
Joanna James Joanna James
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10 Things you need to know before visiting Dambulla Rock Temple - For a hassle-free and memorable travel experience

The Dambulla Rock Temple is one of Sri Lanka's oldest known UNESCO World Heritage Sites. It is the largest and best-preserved temple within a cave. The rock itself on which the temple stands is around 160 meters high. The sightings include paintings and statues of Lord Buddha and a few other deities.

Here are are few things to know before you visit the place.


Visiting hours

The rock temple is open from 7 am to 7 pm. Whilst the ticket counter closes at 5 pm.


Best times to visit

The best times to visit the places are either early in the morning or in the evening to experience a spectacular sunset. If you happen to be staying at one of the Dambulla hotels and are planning to climb the Sigiriya rock fortress on the same day as visiting the temple then we suggest you climb Sigiriya first and then move on to Dambulla.


Different names lead to the same place

The Dambulla rock temple is also referred to as Dambulla cave temple. The golden temple and the cave temple are part of the same place. The golden temple is at the bottom of the Dambulla rock and the cave temple is on top.


The Entrance

Whilst there are three entrances to the temple, the ticket counter is placed only in one location at the bottom of the hill. We suggest you find the ticket counter and make your way up to the hill.


Entrance Fee

It costs around $10 for foreigners to enter the temples. The funds are used for the preservation of the 2000-year-old temple.


Wear modest clothing

Almost in all parts of the island, there is a standard dress code for those entering temples. Shorts are not allowed and women need to cover their shoulders. You will need to take off your shoes prior to entering the religious premises. Since the day can get hot make sure to wear cotton and carry a hat with you.


The time factor

A visit to the temple may last around 1 to 2 hours. Though the temple has around 5 cave temples to visit, they're small rock overhangs and usually doesn't require much time to cover unless you're planning to catch the sunset or have a snack.


The great climb uphill

There are around 300 steps to get to the hilltop which will take about 10 minutes to climb.


Pack up the essentials

Make sure to take a bottle of water and snacks if you're planning on staying a bit longer. Use the bathroom at the bottom of the hill as there is no such facility once you climb up. And beware of the monkeys. They might want a share of everything.


Make it a part of other excursions

Your visit to the rock temple is surely not going to last a day. We suggest that you spend a day or two at The Paradise Resort & Spa and couple it with a few side trips to the nearby Sigiriya Rock fortress, Pidurangala Rock and the elephant safaris at Kaudulla National Park.