Located around 24 kms or 30 minutes from Sigriya, the Dambulla Temple is the best preserved and largest cave temple in the country. Since its inception around 2000 years ago, this has been a fully functional temple. The temple goes back to the times of King Valagama, two thousand year ago, who ruled in 103 BC and also from 89 to 77 BC. The king took shelter in these caves, amongst the monks who lived there, when he was defeated by South Indian invaders. After winning back his kingdom he built a vihara here as a token of thanks. It’s set into 5 massive caverns on the mountainside. Inside the caves there are around 153 statues of the Buddha, in various poses of repose, four statues including the ones of Ganesh and Vishnu and three statues of kings of the ancient times. The walls and ceilings have been repainted over time by the monks. It is a tiring climb to the top of the mountainside. Photography is allowed inside but do not use the flash or pose with any of the statues. As it is a fully functioning temple, one must wear respectful clothing covering their thighs and shoulders. Caps and hats aren’t allowed inside. The temple is open to visitors from 7:30 am to 7 pm.