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Updated by Joanna James on Oct 08, 2023
Headline for How to Plan a Memorable Day Trip in Dambulla
Joanna James Joanna James
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How to Plan a Memorable Day Trip in Dambulla

Are you planning to spend a couple of days in Dambulla during your holiday in Sri Lanka? This region is home to the famous Sigiriya Rock fortress, and the Cave temples. But, there is much more to Dambulla than its historic sites. Let’s explore how best to spend a day in Dambulla.


How to plan an early morning visit to the Sigiriya Rock Fortress?

Sigiriya has always been one of the best places to visit in Dambulla. Plan your visit early in the morning to beat the sun. If you’re staying at a hotel like the Amaya Lake Dambulla, you can get to Sigiriya within 25 minutes. They open doors for visitors from 7am, and the earlier you get there the better. The fortress was once the palatial refuge of King Kashyapa who loved art and luxurious living. There is a water garden and rock garden laid out around the colossal rock.
When you climb halfway to the top, remains of a massive lion statue let you into the rock palace. Then, there is the famous mirror wall with graffiti poems carved onto it by travellers from yesteryears.  But, Sigiriya is famous mostly for the rock frescos of beautiful maidens carrying flowers, and the water fountains at the top of the rock. Remember to wear sunscreen and carry a bottle of water when you take on the hike up this wonderous engineering marvel.


How to enjoy a visit to the Pophams Arboretum?

Once you climb down, take a break at a nearby café to relax. When you’re ready, catch a ride to Pophams Arboretum. An Englishman created an arboretum build an oasis of natural beauty in the dry, arid Sigiriya. Over the years, it has become a rich and diverse ecosystem where plants thrive, and birds, butterflies and dragonflies flit around. The garden is laden with winding paths, meandering streams and wooden bridges. They charge a reasonable fee for maintenance and conservation purposes. It is a small price to pay for a lovely walk through the garden.


Explore the Dambulla Cave temple?

This UNESCO Heritage site is a complex of temples and shrines built within a series of caverns. It has been a pilgrimage site since its heyday. There are five main caves at the complex, where you can see 150 Buddha statues. The cave paintings and murals etched on to the cavern walls are stunning. For devotees, the cave complex is a sanctuary, and you’ll feel the ancient vibes still lingering within the dimly lit caves.


Visit the Dambulla Economic centre

How about a fresh pineapple diced up for a snack on the go? The bustling produce market in the heart of Dambulla is packed with wholesale fruits and vegetables.  The many varieties of tropical fruit and and fresh vegetables, add beauty to the busy bee atmosphere at the market. You’ll enjoy the sights and sounds of the market as they gather the harvest from the region and dispatch those to the rest of the country.


Enjoy a safari at the Hurulu Forest Reserve

Your final destination for the day can be the Hurulu Forest reserve. This biosphere reserve adjoins three other famous sanctuaries. Hence, Hurulu is scattered with fascinating wildlife. In the dry season, herds of grazing elephants take over the tall grasslands and scrub jungles in Hurulu. But, they are not the only creatures to feed and wander in Hurulu. 
You’ll spot some mobs of spotted deer, toque macaque and sly jackals. The forest reserve is also home to birds. Keep your eyes peeled for Indian rollers, blue and green bee-eaters, the Sri Lankan jungle fowl and Indian peafowl. If you’re lucky you might even see crested serpent eagles and hawk eagles.  As dusk falls in, say good bye to the wilderness and make your way to your hotel for a hot bath and lavish dinner. 

  • A true believer that the pen is a mighty weapon, ventures into reaching the minds of every reader with the earnest hope of leaving an indelible stream of thought.

    A travel writer who has a passion for fashion and a deep interest in admiring new and exotic attractions around the world.

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