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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 24, 2021
Headline for Best Things To Do In Dambulla – The Cultural Triangle awaits!
Joanna James Joanna James
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Best Things To Do In Dambulla – The Cultural Triangle awaits!

The roots of the ancient city of Dambulla can be traced back to the 7th century BC! In the heart of the cultural triangle in Sri Lanka, it's the ultimate pitstop on your travels since it's surrounded by numerous UNESCO World Heritage sites! Here's a list of the things to do when you're in Dambulla.


Explore the Dambulla Rock Caves

A UNESCO World Heritage Site, the Dambulla Rock Temple is one of Sri Lanka's most uniquely built and best-preserved temples. Contrary to what you might expect, the rock caves are a complex of temples comprising of five separate cave temples, which were added by various kings over the past. Teeming with multiple buddha statues, and figures of deities and kings, exploring this cave will leave you in absolute awe. Apart from the astounding sculptures, the walls are beautifully adorned with stunning murals and paintings, telling tales of the days of yesteryear.


Climb Sigiriya Rock

One cannot visit Dambulla and not visit Sigiriya! A mere 17 KM from Dambulla, we suggest one of many different types of accommodation available in Dambulla. Hotels guest houses and resorts such as Aliya Resort offer a great base for taking in the architectural and historical delights of the area! Sigiriya is yet another UNESCO World Heritage site and is an extremely popular tourist destination for the stunning views the summit of the rock fortress affords! The ascent to the plateau of the rock on which the fortress was built by King Kasyapa is dotted with some fascinating sights such as the mirror wall and the frescoes of women. Apart from the rock fortress itself, be sure to spend some time exploring the Gardens of the Sigiriya city as well, as they are famous for being amongst the oldest landscaped gardens in the world!


Elephant Watching in Minneriya

The Minneriya National Park is located an easy drive from Dambulla and is a must-see for anyone in the area. The Minneriya water reservoir is of prime importance as it is what draws herds of wild elephants from the surrounding forests of Matale, Polonnaruwa, and Trincomalee districts during the dry season which ranges from July to October. The congregation of these gentle giants amount to as many as 300 at a time, making Minneriya the largest meeting of Asian elephants on the face of the planet!


Check out Kalu Diya Pokuna

The Kalu Diya Pokuna translates to pond with black water and while that doesn't sound so inviting, it is remarkably well maintained for a natural black water pool that is over a thousand years old. Reaching the pond requires a hike, making this an exciting excursion deep into the plains of the Cultural Triangle of Sri Lanka. You can also expect to do some bird watching and also catch a glimpse of some beautiful butterflies as you make your way to the water.


Scale Pidurangala Rock

If you're up for a longer hike, with some incredible views, scaling Pidurangala Rock is the hike for you! This hike will leave you with breath-taking views of Sigiriya and the lush forests which surround it! If you're an early morning riser – make sure you get up before the crack of dawn, to watch the sunrise from the summit of Pidurangala.