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Updated by Joanna James on Sep 13, 2018
Headline for 5 must-visit places in Dambulla - Attractions of an ancient kingdom
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Joanna James Joanna James
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5 must-visit places in Dambulla - Attractions of an ancient kingdom

Dambulla is a famous historical city in Sri Lanka. Once a kingdom, there are plenty of places to visit for the history buff when in the area.

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Dambulla Rock Caves

Dambulla Rock Caves

Perhaps the most famous aspect of Dambulla, the rock caves is a place of religious importance to the Buddhists. It is a temple located inside a rock cave and has one of the most stunning golden Buddha statues to be found on the island. The paintings on the walls are well worth seeing, and the architecture of the temple is simply astounding. Make a point to observe the circular placement of Buddha statues at the centre of the cave.

2

IFS Arboretum

The perfect place for some relaxation, the arboretum in Dambulla is the only one of its kind to be found in the dry zone of Sri Lanka. It was established in the 1970s in a Chena area of Dambulla. The arboretum spreads over 7 acres of land and has well-laid out pathways so it is easy to be explored. The curator of the property can often be found there welcoming and willing to give a guided tour of the place. It is a good place for a day visit.

3

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya Rock Fortress

Sigiriya rock fortress is the crowning glory of the area, an icon that is considered the view to be had at all Dambulla hotels. It was the hideaway and pleasure palace of King Kashyapa, an infamous king in Sri Lankan history. You can explore the rock fortress on your own, or ask for a guided tour. Most of the popular hotels in the area like Aliya Resort & Spa offer guided tours for their guests. The fortress is well-known for its frescos, ancient poetry inscriptions, the mirror-wall, and its hydraulic system. Make sure to explore every level of the fortress, not only the summit. You will be astounded by the feat of ancient architecture.

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4. Pidurangala

4. Pidurangala

Right opposite Sigiriya, and with some of the best shots of the rock fortress, is Pidurangala, a monastery that is located in the heart of a forest. It is a bit of a climb to get to the top, though not too difficult. The best time to visit Pidurangala is early in the morning so you are at the summit for the sunrise. Remember that you will be passing through a temple and a monastery on your way, so you need to dress appropriately.

5

Namal Uyana

Namal Uyana

This is a park of sorts that has some old trees and vines. It is also a paradise for monkeys. As is the case with most of the attractions in the area, Namal Uyana is also centred around a monastery. There is a pink rock at the heart of the garden that you can climb if you feel like it. However, there is absolutely no shade when climbing the rock, so it may not be for everyone. The walk through the park, though, is soothing and inviting. Keep an eye out for snakes, birds, and unexpected water-ways.