Rangiri Dambulla

Is a small town located in the Matale district. Twelve miles from Sigiriya in Dambulla. On the Matale – Anuradhapura Road, and 29 miles from kandy is Dambulla and a vast isolated rock mass, 175 feet in height. After climbing a fair distance one can reach the famous rock temple. There are other ancient temples at Dambulla – the main temples are Ambulambe, Bambava and Dambava. Though shrouded in history, Dambulla – Vihara has a long historical record. On a cave inscription is recorded that king Saddhatissa donated this to the bhikkhus.

There is a view that the caves of Dambulla sheltered king Valagamba during his years of exile and when he regained the throne he caused this to be built as the most magnificent of rock – temples of this island. The book "Rajaratnakara" too supports this view. It is recorded in king kirthi sri Rajasinha’s "Dambulu Vihara Ketapatha" that Dambulla cave was discovered by a veddah, who informed king Valagamba about it.

According to chulavansa king Vijayabahu I who ruled from Polonnaruwa renovated the Dambullu Vihara. It is recorded in Rajavaliya and the rock inscription of king NissankaMalla that he renovated it and named it as Rangiri Dabulla and also built 73 statues. The eyes of the statue were placed by king Senarath king of kandy. (1606–1635 A.D.)Sri Veera. Parakrama Narendrasingha (1707–1739) gave a written record of oral order and that king Vimaladarma Suriya II built belfry, are written in some of the records pertaining to Dambulu Vihara.

During the time of the rebellion which broke out in 1817–1818 puranappu and Gongalegoda Banda took shelter in the Dambulu vihara.

There are a series of 5 caves turned into shrines and also are numerous image of the Buddha. The ceiling too is covered with frescoes in which depict great events in the life of the Buddha, and landmarks in the history of Sinhala people. In one of the caves is the image of God Vishnu – a diety associated with Buddhism. In another cave is a spring which is amazine. The drops of water that trickle from the roof of the cave never get dried during the drought nor does it increase during the rainy season. There is a large bow I kept to collect the water. As there are pictures of fish in the place where the water flows, this trickle of water many have been there from ancient times.